Volunteers sought for grass planting

The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is seeking volunteers to plant grasses Friday and Saturday, Oct. 6 and 7, at Little Florida Beach, Gulf Breeze Beach and Constance Beach in Cameron Parish.
They will be planting bitter panicum, which will slow erosion and create wildlife habitat. Volunteers can sign up online. The planting is supported by Cheniere Energy, Restore America’s Estuaries and Serve Louisiana.

“Southwest Louisiana is experiencing land loss on its coast, but projects like this are slowing it down significantly,” said Gardner Goodall, Native Plants Program coordinator at CRCL. “We’re excited to be working with volunteers to help make a difference in Cameron Parish, not just for the people who live here but also for the industries and the wildlife such as migratory birds.”

In Louisiana, about 2,000 square miles of coastal wetlands and beaches have turned into open water in less than a century. Southwest Louisiana has been particularly hard hit, with hurricanes accelerating land loss in recent years. Little Florida, Gulf Breeze and Constance beaches are popular recreation areas for families just to the west of Holly Beach.

Since 2008, CRCL, Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) and Cheniere Energy have partnered to engage volunteers in southwest Louisiana. This partnership has allowed CRCL to highlight the importance of restoring the Chenier Plain’s shoreline, which is critical to protecting inland marshes and communities. With Cheniere Energy’s support, CRCL has engaged 883 volunteers to restore 121 acres of coastal habitat by planting nearly 160,000 marsh plants, installing over 12,500 feet of sand fence and enhancing over 25 miles of shoreline.

CRCL, which was founded in 1988, has been fighting coastal land loss by planting native plants and trees and recycling oyster shell, among other methods. With its volunteers, the organization has planted more than 3 million grasses and trees and recycled more than 13 million pounds of oyster shell. CRCL is supported by individual donors, corporate sponsors and grants.

Young people are welcome to register as volunteers; the minimum age is 10. Volunteer check-in will begin both days at 8:45 a.m. All equipment required by volunteers will be provided by CRCL, as will premade lunches and drinks. Close-toed shoes are required. Directions to and details about the site will be provided to registered volunteers a few days prior to the event.

To learn more about the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, visit the organization’s website.