The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Thursday, Jan. 13, announced the completion of the Cameron Creole Freshwater Introduction project on the east side of Calcasieu Lake in Cameron Parish. The project restored the function, value, and sustainability of 22,510 acres of marsh and open water by improving hydrologic conditions in the Cameron-Creole Watershed.
Hurricanes coupled with increased saltwater intrusion and reduced freshwater retention have impacted thousands of acres of marshland in Southwest Louisiana in recent years, causing significant damage and decreasing the likelihood the marsh would recover without comprehensive restoration efforts. By reconnecting the area to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW), the Cameron Creole project increased freshwater input and restored favorable hydrologic conditions in the region.
“Southwest Louisiana is no stranger to the impacts of devastating hurricanes and coastal land loss,” CPRA Chairman Chip Kline said. “In completing the Cameron Creole project, we took an important step in undoing some of this damage and restoring the value and productivity of over 20,000 acres of our marshland.”
The project was a joint effort between CPRA and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with funding provided through the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA). The total cost of project construction was $9.4 million.
“The completion of this freshwater introduction project marks a successful reduction in salinity levels and an increase in marsh productivity for the entire Cameron-Creole Watershed,” CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase said. “These marshes would’ve continued to deteriorate without intervention and CPRA is happy to have undertaken the important task of reversing this trend in partnership with NRCS.”
Local officials including State Sen. Mark Abraham and State Rep. Ryan Bourriaque joined in celebrating the completion of the freshwater introduction project in Southwest Louisiana.