In the Field: Chandeleur Sound Living Shoreline

A local Louisiana project pairs education with coastal restoration.

by Emily Guidry Schatzel
Sr. Communications Manager

Hanging out with students for the implementation of their Chandeleur Shoreline Project. Credit Scot Pilié.

Here at Vanishing Paradise, we are all about raising awareness and advocating for restoring our quickly degrading Sportsman’s Paradise. But we also love a chance to get our hands dirty in the field and partner with local individuals and organizations on the “real work” of restoration!

We recently had the opportunity to team up with several groups on the innovative Chandeleur Sound Living Shoreline project in St. Bernard Parish. A group of volunteers installed 20 Artificial Oyster Reefs (AOR) to create a 200-foot-long breakwater barrier off the coast of Comfort Island in Chandeleur Sound. Over time, these oyster cages, filled with rocks and installed in a row, will develop a living reef that provides storm and tide barriers, give marine habitat, help filter surrounding water and protect against coastal erosion.

Program students install their oyster cages filled with Coquina shell stone that will foster new oyster growth and protect the coastal shoreline from additional erosion. Credit Scot Pilié.

Through the project’s development, some 40 students from Chalmette High School dual enrolled in Nunez Community College and learned how to weld the AOR. They have earned course credits, welding certifications, and even wages for their work through the Louisiana Department of Education's Jumpstart Summer program.

“The Chandeleur Sound Living Shoreline project is not just an environmental win, but is also an educational win, too,” said Amanda Moore from Vanishing Paradise. “We are so proud of the students who took the time to learn these trades to be able to play an integral role in a project that is restoring vital coastal habitat.”

Past Nunez students welding the oyster cages for the shoreline protection project. Photo courtesy of Nunez Community College.

The living shoreline project is also a recipient of funding from the annual Cook off for the Coastwith partners like Meraux Foundation and others gathering to raise awareness for the need for coastal restoration in local areas to help preserve vital habitat, fisheries, locals’ way of life and culture.

Led by the Meraux Foundation, we also partnered with Louisiana Department of Education, Nunez Community College, Southern Service Equipment, St. Bernard Parish Coastal Division, St. Bernard Parish Public Schools and St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office to bring this project to life. 

“Seeing the Chandeleur Sound Living Shoreline project come to life has been the culmination of over a year of work by many partners,” said Erin Brown from Vanishing Paradise. “Having the chance link arms with so many organizations across different areas and see restoration in action in the field is so satisfying!”

For more on the project, click here.