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NEW ORLEANS (press release) — The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana will roll out the second phase of its Plaquemines Community Reef this Friday and Saturday to protect a sensitive heritage site used for centuries by the Atakapa-Ishak/Chawasha of the Grand Bayou Indian Village. Volunteers will travel by sea from Buras Boat Harbor to the reef site to hand-assemble a living shoreline using bags of oyster shells recycled from New Orleans restaurants. This Earth Day weekend project offers residents across southeast Louisiana the opportunity to take action that will help minimize storm surge and coastal erosion.

CRCL, the first statewide nonprofit dedicated to fighting coastal land loss, has recycled more than 10 million pounds of oyster shells since the shell recycling program began in 2014, keeping them out of landfills to create living shorelines. CLRC’s recycled shell oyster reefs have slowed shoreline erosion by up to 50%, while creating habitat for new oysters and other wildlife. More than a dozen New Orleans restaurants participate in the program; there are also two sites in the city where residents can drop off their own shell for recycling. The program is supported by companies and organizations such as the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Meraux Foundation, Henderson Hutter, Shell, Chef’s Brigade, TC Energy Foundation, Stolthaven Terminals, Phillips 66 and EMR Metal Recycling.

“Our reef deployments are a unique, meaningful and fun way to help protect the coast,” said Kellyn LaCour-Conant, director of restoration programs at CLRC. “The first phase of this reef protected an irreplaceable native mound site from the worst damage from Hurricane Ida. By adding more shells to this reef, we can maximize its ability to protect the shoreline ahead of the hurricane season of this year. Volunteers have described the deployment experience as life changing, and we always need more manpower, so don’t miss it.

Volunteers will meet at Buras Boat Harbor, approximately 80 km from New Orleans by car. At the port, they will move bags of shells onto boats, which will then travel to the reef site, where the deployment team will place the bags of shells in the water to build the reef. Volunteers are welcome but not required to get on the boats or in the water.

Lunch, snacks, drinks and all necessary equipment are provided by the CRCL. Registration and more information are on the CRCL events webpage.

To learn more about the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, visit the organization’s website website.