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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Caminada Headlands Project making progress

Caminada Headlands Project making progress

The Caminada Headlands Project, a 14-mile Fourchon Beach restoration initiative, is well under way, according to Lafourche Parish Administrator Archie Chaisson.

At a presentation to the parish’s Beachfront Development District Board on Wednesday, Chaisson gave an update of how work is proceeding on the first phase of the project, to restore about 6 miles of beach from Belle Pass going east toward Bay Champagne.

Three million cubic yards of sand is being dredged from nearby Ship Shoal area and barged to Belle Pass where it is pumped onto the shoreline going east to extend the beach into the Gulf and secondarily to build a dune behind it.

Chaisson said that the end of the pipe delivering the sand is at a point about 4 miles from the dredge, or about halfway through the project’s scope.  As more beach is created, the pipe is extended toward Bay Champagne.

“It’s a good project,” said Chaisson, who feels confident that the present phase, to build about 65 feet of beach out into the Gulf will be completed by May of this year.

According to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), the state governing body which is a partner in funding this project, the aim is to “to create and enhance 303 acres of beach and dune, reinforcing almost six miles of barrier headland habitat, reducing the impacts of storm events on Port Fourchon and Highway 1, a vital hurricane evacuation route for Fourchon and Grand Isle.”

In addition, CPRA says the Caminada project will increase habitat for nesting birds, especially the endangered Piping Plover.

The elevation of the finished beach will be approximately 4.5 feet, said Chaisson.

The plan, he said, is to finish the beach by May, then come back in late summer to complete the dune. The dune will be constructed behind the beach, to a width of about 290 feet and an elevation of 7 feet. 

Beachfront Chairman Rickey Cheramie asked if there have been any setbacks to the project. 

Chaisson noted that wave heights in excess of 4-5 feet make transfer of sand from barge to dredge impossible and that the project is about 14 days behind schedule because of wave events.

Otherwise, he said, everything is proceeding smoothly.