CCA Finishes “Finfish Reef” in Big Lake

LDWF, CCA Lake Charles and the Building Conservation Trust partner to complete new fisheries habitat in Calcasieu Lake

The Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana and CCA’s Lake Charles Chapter, in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and CCA’s Building Conservation Trust (BCT), finished construction Tuesday on the new “Finfish Reef” in Calcasieu Lake.

The new reef was constructed about 2 miles west of Commissary Point, in about 6 feet of water, and is easily reachable with a short boat ride from numerous boat launches and marinas around Big Lake. CCA deployed more than 2,000 tons of recycled crushed concrete over roughly 5 acres, placing the material in a design intended to optimize bottom contours and water conditions. In these depths, it is likely that a diverse range of species could call the reef home, especially oysters, which have been diminished in Big Lake in recent years. Other species like specks, reds and flounder are sure to follow.

“Typically, it does not take long for small marine organisms to begin orienting to reefs like this one,” said CCA’s Vice President of Habitat John Walther. “Once the smaller species show up, the predator species are soon to follow. I would expect anglers will begin reporting catches of speckled trout and other target species as early as this summer.”

Funding for this project was provided by BCT 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 provided by Road Rock Recycling.

A very special gift was also made to the project from the estate of Eddy and Mary Ann Dever. Eddy and Mary Ann were regulars on the Lake who lived and loved all parts of the Calcasieu estuary while fishing, crabbing, shrimping and enjoying time with friends. They are described by those who knew them as “the life of the party.” The new reef will sustain and rebuild critical habitat in the Lake, and their friends believe this is a perfect way to honor their memory.

Finfish is the 7th CCA reef completed in Calcasieu/Cameron recently. In March, CCA’s REEF Louisiana Program completed the West Cameron 45 Reef, south of Holly Beach, replacing oil and gas platforms that had been removed. In recent years, CCA has completed 5 other inshore reefs in Calcasieu Lake, including Turner’s Bay Reef, the Brad Vincent Reefs (Phases I & II) and the “Big Jack” Lawton Reefs (Phases I & II).

“CCA and our Lake Charles Chapter are very proud of the work we have done over the years in Big Lake,” said CCA Louisiana CEO David Cresson. “This estuary has suffered tremendous habitat loss from erosion, hurricane damage and oyster reef degradation. Building new habitat for the benefit of the Lake and the marine species that live here is something we are very dedicated to.”

This is the 30th individual reef project CCA has completed since 2007, comprising 36 unique reefs. In the past year alone, CCA built the Green Monster Reef in Plaquemines Parish, the Bay Marchand Block 3 Reef, the South Timbalier Block 51 Reef, the Z.T. “Jack” Cart Reef in Vermilion Block 69, and West Cameron 45.

Final site surveys are being completed this week, and CCA will publish the official reef coordinates when they are finalized. For more information on CCA or our REEF Louisiana Program, and a GPS listing of all our projects, click here.