*UPDATE: Elmer’s Island closed again Oct 24-31 to install a parking area. The project is now complete.
*UPDATE: Closure has been extended until September 6 due to the recent flooding in Louisiana.
A 12-day closure of the beach area of Elmer’s Island will begin August 10, 2016 and is expected to be near completion on August 22.
Elmer’s Island, located immediately southwest of Grand Isle across Caminada Pass on the central Gulf coast of Louisiana, is a state-owned barrier island. The closure is due to a coastal restoration project that begins at Belle Pass and extends to Caminada Pass.
Construction activities will be moving through the public parking area. Though work is expected to last through the fall on the east side of the island, foot traffic will open once construction progresses past the parking area. Vehicular traffic, however, will remain prohibited.
Construction on Elmer’s Island is part of the Caminada Headland Beach and Dune restoration project which is being restored by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). This is the largest project undertaken by CPRA to date, costing over $200 million.
Caminada Headland is an important nesting area for shorebirds and migratory birds and has experienced significant shoreline erosion and land loss over the last 100 years. The beach and dune restoration project aims to restore this wildlife habitat as well as protecting nearby communities and Port Fourchon from the damaging effects of storm surge.
The project consists of dredged sand from Ship Shoal, a borrow site located about 30 miles away in the Gulf of Mexico, being transported to barges then pumped via pipeline to the barrier shoreline. This is the first time Ship Shoal is being utilized for coastal restoration. There are two project increments.
Increment I was completed in December 2014 and restored approximately 300 acres and 6 miles of beach and dune habitat on the western half of the project area.
Increment II, currently under way, is expected to restore approximately 500 acres and 7 miles of beach and dune habitat.
Funding for Increment I of the Caminada Headland Beach and Dune restoration project came from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) and state surplus funds. Increment II is funded by the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, which was established as a result of the BP oil spill in 2010.
“We are pleased with the progress being made on this project and are doing all we can to limit the impact to our recreational users and fishermen as construction activities continue,” said Charlie Melancon, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge is state-owned and is managed by LDWF.
CPRA Chairman Johnny Bradberrry said, “The Caminada Headlands project is significant in a number of ways: at over $200 million it is the largest restoration project CPRA has implemented to date; by fortifying 13 miles of the headland it will truly make an impact on the landscape; and it is significant because it represents the way that the work put into our Coastal Master Plan is now and will continue to be used to drive the implementation of the most crucial projects for our coast.”