Buras Shoreline Protection Project Promotes Healthy Ecosystem

Buras Shoreline Protection Project Promotes Healthy Ecosystem
Billy Nungesser, Plaquemines Parish President

Plaquemines Parish has begun work on the second phase of the Buras Boat Harbor Shoreline Protection Project which involves the creation of a new matting product to be placed on the shoreline.

The mat will be installed across a raised berm at mean tide level. Over 600 feet of material was installed in phase one with an additional 4,000 feet currently being installed in phase two of the project.

The Vegetated EcoMatrix system provides a cost-effective, scalable solution for shoreline protection and bank stabilization. The patented design utilizes matrix sheets that are manufactured with recycled PET plastic. When secured in place, the matrix sheets provide stabilization to shorelines, levees, berms and terracing.

In addition, smaller strips of matrix are pre-vegetated and secured in place at mean tide. The vegetation provides immediate erosion protection from constant wave action. As the vegetation grows and spreads, it creates a living shoreline. The Vegetated EcoMatrix is lightweight, easy to install and requires minimal heavy equipment.

Martin Ecosystems, the manufacturer of the Vegetated EcoMatrix system, has contracted Professor Chunyan Li, PhD of LSU School of the Coast & Environment to conduct an 18 month study of the Vegetated EcoMatrix installed at the Buras Boat Harbor Shoreline Protection Project. The study will evaluate its level of effectiveness.

While large scale projects are important, the Parish is also executing smaller projects that have significant benefits as well. The Buras Marina shoreline protection offers a good example of this,” said Billy Nungesser, Plaquemines Parish President. “From the standpoint of function and protection, this project serves as a buffer against wind driven waves that have eroded marshes adjacent to the back levee. This system provides protection to the back levee that the adjacent marshes used to. The design uses a variety of methods and products to achieve the overall project goals.”

This project will serve as a testing ground for some of the products to see what works best in this unique environment. This will put the Parish in a position to show state and federal agencies the parish’s initiative, which will possibly aid in future funding opportunities. Unlike most other restoration projects this project is easily accessible to the public; it can be seen from the marina. This leads to more public awareness about the benefits of small projects,” said PJ Hahn, Director of Coastal Zone Management.

This has been a great project to work on. It utilizes both conventional earthen components as well as technologies and products that enhance the ecosystem, while most other projects will use one or the other. These complementary features have been coupled together in a synergistic manner to achieve the goals of the project while also promoting a healthy ecosystem,” said Danny Dehon, from Manchac Consulting Group the engineer on the Buras Shoreline Protection Project.

Press Release, August 22, 2014