Partnership with Chevron and LDWF leads to new “fish havens” South of Grand Isle
Coastal Conservation Association’s REEF Louisiana Program completed construction last week on two new artificial reefs south of Grand Isle, at Grand Isle Block 47 and West Delta Block 35. Both projects were built on sites where oil and gas platforms have been recently removed.
Along with conservation partners Chevron, CCA’s Building Conservation Trust, Romeo Papa Boats and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, CCA deployed 45 “fish houses” in each location. In addition, another 60 large recycled concrete columns (donated by Beton Concrete Solutions) were deployed in each location. The site at West Delta 35 is in roughly 65 feet of water. The new Grand Isle 47 site is in roughly 100 feet of water. Each reef was designed to optimize water and bottom conditions, and to create “fish havens” over multiple acres. The “fish houses” (provided by E & L Construction Group), are 6ft x 6ft and were placed in a large grid arrangement centered on the old locations of the removed structures. Each individual structure will create bottom relief and should establish its own feeding halo, providing excellent habitat for a wide variety of marine species.
CCA Louisiana VP of Habitat John Walther was on hand for the construction, and explained how these projects came about.
“A few years ago, CCA’s REEF Louisiana Program identified more than 900 sites across the Louisiana coast where oil and gas structures have been removed, or are scheduled to be removed,” said Walther. “West Delta 35 and Grand Isle 47 were chosen from that list by CCA chapter members as priority sites, so we began the process of permitting and planning for reef construction with Wildlife and Fisheries. Thankfully, partners like Chevron and Romeo Papa Boats stepped up to help, and here we are today with two more completed reefs.”
Walther says he expects each site to hold fish in the near future.
“Our research shows that these structures often begin supporting marine life within days of deployment,” he said. “I would not be at all surprised to find species like red snapper, mangrove snapper, cobia and grouper on these structures later this spring.”
These two projects make a total of 10 successful reef partnerships between Chevron and CCA since 2017. Leah Brown, Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico Public Affairs Manager, explained how important projects like these are.
“With the addition of these two initiatives, Chevron and CCA will have worked together on a total of ten reef projects since 2017,” said Brown. “Like our previous collaborations, these two reefs will help conserve the coast and support the fish and wildlife that call it home. Chevron’s contributions are part of our commitment to Louisiana’s coast and coastal communities. We’re proud of our long-standing partnership with CCA and thank them for their efforts.”
CCA Louisiana Executive Director David Cresson expressed his appreciation to Chevron, and to all who made the projects possible.
“This simply could not happen without partners like Chevron, Romeo Papa and the team at Wildlife and Fisheries,” said Cresson. “In Louisiana, we are losing critical fisheries habitat in a variety of ways, including the loss of reef habitat through platform removal. Having completed a number of these projects now, we have proven time and time again that industry, government and CCA can work together to address some of these problems.”
CCA’s REEF Louisiana Program has now completed 11 projects on the sites of removed oil and gas platforms. The first was the “Pickets Reef” complex in Ship Shoal Block 26, built in 2014. In 2019, similar projects were completed in South Marsh Island Block 233 (The Ted Beaullieu, Sr. Reef Complex) and in Vermilion Blocks 119 & 124 (The Rawls Reef Complex). In 2021, CCA completed the “Green Monster Reef” in Plaquemines Parish, the Bay Marchand Block 3 Reef, the South Timbalier Block 51 Reef and the “Jack Cart Reef” in Vermilion Block 69. Earlier In 2022, CCA completed reefs in W. Cameron Block 45 and Eugene Island Block 51. CCA also built large inshore reefs in Calcasieu Lake and Four Bayous Pass in 2022. Overall, CCA has now completed 34 inshore and nearshore artificial reef projects since 2003, representing more than $20 million in habitat creation.
Funding for the West Delta 35 and Grand Isle 47 project comes from CCA Louisiana, Chevron, CCA’s Building Conservation Trust and LDWF’s Artificial Reef Trust Fund, as well as individual gifts from CCA REEF Louisiana Club members. In-kind donations were provided by Romeo Papa Boats, E & L Construction and Beton Concrete Solutions.
CCA’s REEF Louisiana Program is working on plans for additional reefs, including projects at South Timbalier Block 165, South Timbalier Block 77, Ship Shoal Block 26, Grand Isle Block 63, South Marsh Island Block 235, and many others. All of these projects are part of the REEF Louisiana Program, in which CCA and our partners rebuild fisheries habitat on the sites of removed platforms. For more information about REEF Louisiana or to become a REEF Club Member, please contact David at 225-952-9200.
For GPS locations of all CCA reefs, visit here.