CCA Louisiana and Phillips 66 to Build “Floating Islands” in Lake Charles

CCA’s Lake Charles Chapter and conservation partners to join with local students to create new marsh in Prien Lake

The Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana’s Lake Charles Chapter, Phillips 66, Martin Ecosystems and local students from Pearl Watson Elementary and Episcopal Day School will team up on Friday, November 1st to help rebuild the coastline near Prien Lake with a Floating Islands installation.

Starting on Friday at 9:00 a.m., volunteers from Phillips 66 will join local CCA chapter volunteers and about 100 students at the public boat launch next to the I-210 bridge to build approximately 2,000 square feet of new wetland island habitat and place them in the water. After they are put in the water, they will be towed to the installation location nearby.  Each 8 x 15 foot “island” will hold 300 plants and will be placed end-to-end and anchored to the water bottom. Roughly 4,000 native plants, including mangrove, seashore paspalum and smooth cord grass, will be installed. The “floating islands” technology allows these plants to take root in the water bottom while providing protection to the existing shoreline from the natural elements.

This is the second large-scale habitat partnership between Phillips 66 and CCA in recent years.  In 2018, the two groups worked together to expand the Brad Vincent Artificial Reef in Calcasieu Lake.

“Environmental stewardship is a commitment essential to Phillips 66’s vision of providing energy and improving lives,” said Richard G. Harbison, Phillips 66 Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex Manager. “We are proud to continue our relationship with the Coastal Conservation Association as they further their mission to restore and sustain fish habitat.”

CCA Louisiana Executive Director David Cresson echoed Harbison’s sentiments.

“Over the past decade, building and enhancing marine habitats has become a major component of CCA’s work across Louisiana, and it simply would not be possible without incredible partners like Phillips 66,” said Cresson.  “Their leadership in the community and on the coast has been evident through their commitment to projects like this, and we appreciate the opportunity to work with them in building this new habitat.”

This is the sixth floating islands project spearheaded by CCA Louisiana in recent years. The first was Phase I of the Isle de Jean Charles Project in Point Aux Chenes, completed in 2011. Phase II of the Isle de Jean Charles project followed in 2013. In 2015, CCA and partners joined forces to build more than 1000 linear feet of islands off Highway 1 near Grand Isle. In 2018, an initial installation was completed in Vermilion Bay close to Cypremort Point, and the second phase was installed in the spring of 2019.  In all, nearly 25,000 square feet of new marsh has been built by CCA to create habitat and fortify marshland that had been devastated by years of erosion and storms. These projects are the first to use this technology, developed by Martin Ecosystems, in an open-water marine environment application. In some cases, the “floating island marsh” has even outperformed the surrounding natural marsh.

Funding for the Lake Charles project is provided by Phillips 66, CCA’s Building Conservation Trust and Martin Ecosystems along with donations by individual CCA members. Program support for CCA’s Floating Islands initiative across Louisiana is provided by Entergy.  In-kind services for the project are being provided by Mike Hooks L.L.C. and Stream Wetland Services.  Youth volunteers are coordinated by the CCA Louisiana Youth Outreach program in partnership with the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation and the Magistro Family Foundation.

In all, this will be the 32nd habitat project completed in recent years by CCA Louisiana and their partners, including 26 artificial reef projects and 6 marsh planting projects, representing a total habitat investment of nearly $12 million.

The project will occur come rain or shine on Friday, November 1, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 pm at the Public Boat Launch near the I-210 bridge.   Lunch will be provided to all volunteers.