Posted on April 18, 2017
By Garrett Ohlmeyer, houmatoday.com
Construction is set to begin on a barrier island rebuilding project to protect the area during hurricanes.
The work on the Caillou Lake Headland barrier island, also known as Whiskey Island, is expected to begin within the next couple weeks, according to local officials.
The island, part of Isles Dernieres, protects the wetlands in south Terrebonne between Dularge and Cocodrie and ultimately helps protect Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes from storm surge.
“It’s something we’ve started working on (about) five years ago and it’s finally coming to fruition,” said Terrebonne Parish President Gordy Dove.
The rebuilding is part of $627 million in Gulf Coast restoration money BP paid for the 2010 oil spill. From that, Louisiana received $318 million for outer coastal restoration projects, which led to the rebuilding of four barrier islands along the coast. The construction on Whisky island itself will cost $103 million.
About 9.4 million cubic yards of sand will be mined from Ship Shoal, an underwater sand body located in the Gulf of Mexico, and transported to the headland during the rebuilding process. The island will span roughly 4.5 miles when the project is completed.
The project will not only provide protection from storm surge but will aid in the effort to protect shorebirds on the island where scientists have worked to establish new colonies of brown pelicans.
Most of the sand will be put on top of land already there, but about half a mile of land will be added to the width, said Dove. There will also be vegetation and fences to catch some of the sand added to the island.
To give it perspective, the restoration of the Caminada Headland included pumping about 8.6 million cubic yards of sand onto the islands for roughly 13 miles of beach. The construction is being done by Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co.
A groundbreaking ceremony is expected sometime in June, and the construction should be completed in about 16 months, Dove said.