Caminada Headland project gets $144.5 million for second phase

An additional $144.5 million was provided to the state from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to build the second phase of the Caminada Headland Beach and Dune Restoration project, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority announced Thursday.

Located just west of Grand Isle, this section of beach and wetlands will help provide protection to Port Fourchon and parts of Lafourche Parish.

The foundation was given charge of the $2.5 billion in 2013 from BP and Transocean plea agreements, and the money was to be used for ecosystem restoration.

In November, the foundation announced $67.9 million for five projects in Louisiana, one of which was $3 million to do the engineering and design for the second phase of the Caminada Headland restoration project.

The final design for this phase has been completed, said Kyle Graham, executive director for the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

Construction on the first phase of the project started in August and involves pumping 3.3 million cubic yards of material from an offshore sand source to an area just south of Port Fourchon.

This phase will result in six miles of dune and beach restoration, totaling 303 acres, when the pumping of sand is completed in August. All additional work, such as planting dune plants, is expected to be done by early 2015.

This $70 million first phase of the project was paid for with a combination of state and parish shares of the Coastal Impact Assistance Program and $30 million in 2008 state surplus money.

The additional $144.5 million announced Thursday will pay for the actual construction of that second phase as the restoration project moves west toward Grand Isle.

In total, it’s expected the money will help build or restore an additional 7.5 miles of beach, which would include 490 acres of beach and dune habitat.

Construction of the second phase should begin in late summer and should be completed by late 2015 or early 2016, Graham said.