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Elmer’s Island Refuge To Reopen After Restoration Efforts

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Wildlife officials in Louisiana announced that the Caminada Beach and Dune Restoration Project is complete, meaning Elmer’s Island Refuge in Grand Isle can now reopen.

In 2012, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority started the project, which cost over $200 million, on the western end of Caminada’s headlands. Some 300 acres and 6 miles of beaches and dunes have been restored. In 2013, the eastern half of the project, including Elmer’s Island, reconditioned around 500 acres and 7 miles of beaches and dunes.

Johnny Bradberry, chair of the CPRA, says this is the largest project the agency has ever handled. The entire Grand Isle, where Elmer’s Island Refuge is located, was severely damaged by Hurricane Isaac in 2012, eroding shorelines and battering the natural environment.

Elmer’s Island Refuge covers 230 acres on the southwestern tip of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Historically known as Goat Island, it has been a popular fishing spot for generations, bringing in speckled and white trout, flounder, redfish, channel mullet, black drum, croaker, Spanish mackerel and more. It is home to diverse seabird and coastal marine species.

Professional used sand taken from Ship Shoal, a location around 30 miles from the gulf, to reconstitute the beach and shoreline, Capital Wired reports. The sand was loaded into barges and pumped into a pipeline. The whole project covered the area from Belle Pass to Lafourche and Caminada Pass.

Charlie Melancon, Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary says Elmer’s Island has never looked better, and that the restoration project will represent the ideal environment for wildlife in the area. It will also be a good recreational site for residents and tourists because of the updated coastal protection measures.

The CPRA says it will continue working to restore beaches, dunes and wildlife habitats, while providing a form barricade against storm flooding and ocean surges during typhoon season.

The refuge will officially reopen on Monday, from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

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