Seven breakwaters installed at Little Florida

By Cyndi Sellers

Seven new rock breakwaters were recently installed at Little Florida Beach, completing Cameron Parish’s $11 million GOMESA bond issue shoreline protection project.

The Police Jury accepted this final section of breakwaters as substantially complete earlier this month. The Rutherford Beach and Long Beach sections were completed in September and November 2020, respectively.

The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA) created revenue sharing provisions for the four Gulf oil producing states and their coastal political subdivisions. Funds disbursed to the state and coastal parishes are used to support coastal conservation and restoration projects, hurricane protection programs, and activities to implement marine, coastal or conservation management plans, according to the US Department of the Interior. In March of 2020, the DOI disbursed almost $353 million from fiscal year 2019 energy revenues to the four Gulf states.

Cameron Parish’s share of GOMESA revenue, estimated to be over $1 million per year, has been dedicated to a ten-year bond issue, to be used for shoreline protection projects. The bond issue allowed the parish to begin work immediately instead of banking the money until there was enough to build something.

With the funds in hand, plans were drawn up for a comprehensive breakwater project covering the three areas most in need. Rutherford, Long Beach and Little Florida-Constance Beach. Only 25 percent of the total permitted project has been built so far. With permits in place, more structures can be added when funds become available. In fact, two additional breakwaters were added to the Little Florida project at the last minute because there was enough money left in the bond issue to pay for them.

The seven breakwaters at Little Florida, as well as the rocks at Rutherford and Long Beach, are producing the desired result of sand accretion along the protected areas of coast, as shown in the accompanying photo. It is hoped that they will provide protection from summer storms as well.