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CPRA Announces Start of Construction on Biloxi Marsh Living Shoreline Project

May 12, 2022

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) today announced the start of construction activities on the Biloxi Marsh Living Shoreline project in St. Bernard Parish. The project will create living oyster reefs and shoreline protection southeast of the Biloxi Wildlife Management Area.

“The importance of this project is two-fold,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline. “The protective breakwater we’re constructing will reduce shoreline retreat and stabilize hundreds of acres of marshland. By sustaining the marshland, we strengthen the critical buffer between hurricane storm surge and the city of New Orleans.”

Hardened material is being used to create breakwaters that will provide protection against wave erosion and supply hard substrate for oyster settlement. Upon completion, the project will provide approximately 11 miles of shoreline protection for the degrading marsh.

“The area surrounding this project has lost nearly 16,000 acres of coastal land since the 1930s,” said CPRA Executive Director Bren Haase. “With this project, we’re constructing shoreline protection along Eloi Bay near the mouth of Bayou la Loutre to reverse this process and provide better protection to the region.”

Construction of the $67 million project is funded by the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) through the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (LA TIG).

“I want to commend CPRA for prioritizing St. Bernard with the construction of this project,” said St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis. “The unique challenges we face in coastal Louisiana require innovative solutions like those being implemented by the CPRA. I’m glad to see this kind of innovation directed to such an important restoration effort.”

In recent years, rates of yearly shoreline retreat in the project area were as high as 48 feet, endangering the nearly 40,000-acre Biloxi Wildlife Management Area (WMA). In addition to serving as refuge for mammals during high tide events, the Biloxi WMA is home to fish, shrimp, crabs, and waterfowl.

“St. Bernard has suffered from a number of storms over the years that have washed away our coastline and destroyed our marshes,” said State Sen. Sharon Hewitt. “I appreciate CPRA investing in a shoreline protection project in the Biloxi Marsh that will slow down future storms and help protect our citizens from harm.”

“St. Bernard is no stranger to land loss and shoreline erosion, and I’m happy to see this important restoration project moving forward,” said State Rep. Ray Garofalo. “This project will provide protection to our vulnerable marshland, and we have to thank CPRA for working hard to protect and restore our coastal area.”