The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) has been named a national winner for Best Restored Beaches from the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA). CPRA’s Caminada Headland Beach and Dune Restoration project restored more than 13 miles of beach and dune.
The project restored more than 1,059 acres of beach, dune and subtidal habitats by placing more than 8.8 million cubic yards of sand from the Ship Shoal Borrow Area in the Gulf of Mexico, more than 36 miles from the project. Nearly 200 sea turtles were successfully relocated from the borrow area to adjacent foraging grounds, and more than 195,000 native plants and nearly 72,500 linear feet of sand fencing were installed to promote the conservation of sand on the island.
The Caminada Headland provides storm protection for Port Fourchon, Louisiana’s largest oil and gas drilling services facility, servicing more than 90 percent of the Gulf of Mexico deepwater oil production and more than 400 large supply vessels use the port’s channels each day.
Planning and design for the restoration had just begun when the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred. Essential cleanup efforts delayed critical surveys, and a tropical storm and a hurricane then battered the area, further complicating and delaying construction.
With limited nearshore sand resources available as a borrow area, CPRA turned to Ship Shoal, an ancient remnant delta now a part of the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico. CPRA worked cooperatively with the U.S. Dept. of Interior through the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) to acquire a lease to mine its sand, estimated at about 900 million cubic yards.
“We used two methods of sediment excavation and delivery,” said CPRA Project Manager Brad Miller. “One method used a cutter head dredge to load scows with sand, then transported the scows as much as 30 miles to the project site where an unloader resuspended the sediment and pumped it to the beach. We also made use of hopper dredges to excavate sediment, sail it to a nearshore pump-out area near the headland, and then pump it to the beach.”