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FUTURE COASTAL WETLANDS PARK CONTINUES TO TAKE SHAPE DAILY

What began as an idea to extract dredged materials from a developing slip, in Port Fourchon, and place it right next door in a patch of open, water filled marsh, has turned in to a fascinating process complete with its very own Master Plan.

The guiding vision as of today is to continue transforming this area that is located across the street from the Fourchon Operations building in to an immersive recreational and educational area for visitors and those working at the Port as well.

Currently, the Port is in the process of securing funding to match with its own dollars to keep advancing the project forward. At this moment, the Port’s initial grant submittal for the Land, Water & Conservation Fund (LWCF) program was successful and is slated for a second submittal cycle later this year. 

Thanks to a generous grant award via Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, the 100-plus acre site will also feature several pedestal-mounted view finders for the community to access.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled about everything we have going on out there,” GLPC Executive Director Chett Chiasson said. “Our team at the GLPC and our Commissioners understand how important projects like these are for the overall well-being of our community and visitors alike. I applaud everyone that has already and will eventually become involved in seeing our vision for this amazing site through to its completion.”

With established partnerships with agencies like Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou and Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP), the site is and will continue to undergo changes that benefit everyone.

Different species of birds and fish are already making themselves at home where lush marsh grass continues to flourish despite no plantings having taken place to date. 

An excavated tidal creek 20-feet wide with spoil banks has been built-up in hopes of providing a prime location for future plantings with the help of BTNEP as well as possible boardwalk access points for scenic views of the complete site for those not using it for kayaking purposes. Deeper spots within the creek could possible serve as small fishing holes as well.

Base fill has been placed on site to establish the beginnings of a parking area that will one day serve as an entrance to this one-of-a-kind park, a park which showcases the amazing eco-system known to those living in south Louisiana. 

“The site is truly taking shape, and we are extremely hopeful that along with our efforts that other partners, including those in the industry sector take note and want to become involved because there is certainly room for them to do so. And by doing so, this engagement will only lend further proof to our prevailing thought that industry and environment are not mutually exclusive, but rather exist in unison with one another in Port Fourchon,” Chiasson said. • 

Aerial photos by Picciola and Associates, Inc.

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