Along with LDWF and CCA’s Building Conservation Trust, CCA builds another new reef where oil and gas platforms have been removed
The Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Building Conservation Trust, completed construction last week on a new artificial reef in West Cameron Block 45.
The project was part of CCA’s REEF Louisiana program, aimed at rebuilding critical fish habitat that is lost when oil and gas platforms are removed from the water. The site in West Cameron 45 was home to platforms that have been recently removed, and were identified by Lake Charles and Cameron area anglers as desirable reef locations.
“We worked with our Lake Charles CCA Chapter to identify this specific location,” said David Cresson, CEO of CCA Louisiana. “Vital fisheries habitat is lost each time a platform is removed from Louisiana’s nearshore waters. Through REEF Louisiana, CCA members are doing something about that issue.”
The new reef at West Cameron 45, about 10 miles south of Holly Beach, is in about 25 feet of water, and is easily reachable with a short boat ride from Holly Beach or the Calcasieu Ship Channel. CCA deployed several hundred tons of recycled concrete using a modular grid design. Small clusters of these structures were spread out in columns and rows over 4 to 5 acres in an effort to optimize bottom contours and water conditions. The design will also create overlapping “feeding halos” where a variety of fish species may thrive. In these depths, it is likely that a diverse range of fish could call these reefs home, including nearshore species like speckled trout and redfish.
“Historically, these reefs show signs of life very soon after they are deployed,” said John Walther, CCA’s Vice President of Habitat. “The structures provide a perfect habitat for small marine organisms, which means it isn’t long before predator fish show up. I would not be surprised if anglers are catching speckled trout from this spot later this spring and summer.”
Eric Mire, president of the Lake Charles CCA Chapter, talked about the importance of projects like these.
“People from Southwest Louisiana fished those platforms in West Cameron 45 for years, and it is sad to see so many of those great fishing spots being removed,” said Mire. “It makes me proud of CCA, the Lake Charles Chapter and our partners to see us replacing these removed platforms with great new fish habitat.”
Funding for this project was provided by CCA’s REEF Louisiana Program and the Building Conservation Trust, along with matching funds from LDWF’s Artificial Reef Trust Fund. Additional funding was provided by members of CCA’s REEF Club. In-kind labor was provided by DLS Energy. Materials were donated by Road Rock Recycling.
CCA’s REEF Louisiana program has plans to complete two more nearshore reefs later this spring, at Eugene Island Block 51 and South Timbalier Block 165. We also expect to complete a new inshore reef in Calcasieu Lake in 2022, and are finalizing a list of new inshore and nearshore sites to be completed in 2022 and 2023.
The West Cameron 45 Reef is the 29th individual reef project CCA has completed in recent years, comprising 35 unique reefs. In the past year, CCA built the Green Monster Reef in Plaquemines Parish, the Bay Marchand Block 3 Reef, the South Timbalier Block 51 Reef, and the Z.T. “Jack” Cart Reef in Vermilion Block 69.
The center point GPS Coordinates for W. Cameron 45 are N 29 40’ 27.0595” W 93 36’ 21.764”. For more information on CCA or our REEF Louisiana Program, and a GPS listing of all our projects, visit ccalouisiana.com.