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CCA Louisiana Builds 50th Artificial Reef

Chevron, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Danos join CCA to expand Ted Beaullieu, Sr. Reef

Coastal Conservation Association’s (CCA) REEF Louisiana Program began construction of its 50th artificial reef on Tuesday. With the help of conservation partners Chevron, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), and Danos, CCA expanded the Ted Beaullieu Sr. Reef in South Marsh Island Block 233.

REEF Louisiana built the original Ted Beaullieu, Sr. Reef in 2019 to honor the conservation legend from the Lafayette area. Once a fishing hotspot, South Marsh Island 233 was chosen by concerned local anglers who noticed a significant decrease in fish after oil and gas platforms were removed from the area. The original reef was constructed using recycled concrete catch basins and rig legs.

The Ted Beaullieu, Sr. Reef expansion lies in 20 feet of water and covers more than 4 acres. Three types of materials were used to build the new expansion including “materials of opportunity” in the form of 43 concrete cylinders and other recycled concrete structures donated by Danos. CCA also deployed 100 nature-based modules called “Cajun Coral”, fabricated using highly specialized 3D printing technology. Cajun Coral is produced by Danos in partnership with Natrx, Inc. These different materials are expected to encourage biodiversity and restore essential habitat for trout, redfish, and a variety of other fish species.

Recycled concrete and Cajun Coral being loaded on to a barge in preparation for the reef expansion.

CCA Louisiana VP of Habitat and Conservation John Walther attended the reef installation and explained the origins of the project. “The habitat that is lost when platforms are removed is absolutely critical to our fisheries in this part of the gulf. So, after witnessing the successful habitat growth at the original Beaullieu Reef we knew we wanted to develop an expansion project.” Walther said. “The expansion has nearly doubled the size of this reef complex, adding even more opportunities for marine life to thrive.”

Pictured left: Sonar of the original Ted Beaullieu, Sr. Reef shows fish and marine life gathered near the reef.

Ryan Montegut, Assistant Secretary of Fisheries at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries echoed Walther’s sentiment.

“I grew up fishing this area and the oil and gas platforms always held lots of fish. With the loss of so many of these platforms, we need artificial reefs now more than ever,” said Montegut. “Fortunately, Governor Landry and LDWF Secretary Sheahan understand how important these artificial reefs are in replacing some of the habitat that was lost by the removal of some of the old platforms. We’re very proud to be a part of this program that helps our anglers better enjoy the resources that Louisiana has to offer.”

One of REEF Louisiana’s existing partners, Chevron was there to provide funding for this reef expansion.

“Chevron is committed to Louisiana’s coastal communities and the people who call them home,” said Leah Brown, Chevron Gulf of Mexico Public Affairs Manager. “Our state’s fisheries are a critical part of our culture and economy, and rebuilding habitat through projects like the Ted Beaullieu, Sr. Reef Expansion is important to us all. We are proud to partner with CCA on their 50th reef project.”

3D printed Cajun Coral being deployed during installation.
3D printed Cajun Coral being deployed during installation.

In addition to Chevron, funding for the Ted Beaullieu, Sr. Reef Expansion comes from CCA’s REEF Louisiana Program, Danos and matching funds provided by LDWF’s Artificial Reef Trust Fund.

“CCA Louisiana has been building reefs for a long time and hitting the 50th milestone is testament to our Conservation Committee, volunteers, and our partners.” said Rad Trascher, Executive Vice President of CCA Louisiana.

This project is CCA’s 50th artificial reef deployed in Louisiana’s coastal waters and is the first of three reefs planned for construction this summer.

“With the help of great partners like Chevron, who has been a part of over 15 projects, and others the program is really taking off and we have more than ever scheduled to be built in the upcoming months,” Trascher said.

REEF Louisiana is set to install a nearshore reef in East Cameron at the end of June and an inshore reef at Hotel CID in Barataria Bay in mid-July, with many more on the horizon. 

CCA’s REEF Louisiana Program is an initiative aimed at replacing lost fisheries habitat, including where oil and gas platforms have been removed. The program uses repurposed “materials of opportunity” to construct artificial reefs, including items such as pieces of decommissioned oil and gas platforms, retired marine vessels, highway barriers, culverts, and recycled concrete.

For more information about this reef or CCA Louisiana’s REEF Louisiana Program, contact Rad Trascher at (225) 952-9200.