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The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation spearheaded a cooperative effort with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to construct an experimental artificial reef in Lake Pontchartrain. This is the second reef constructed in the lake by the Lake Pontchartrain Artificial Reef Working Group.
The reef is constructed of reef balls which were barged from Florida to the site. Designed to provide habitat for both plant and animal life, the reef balls are dome-shaped hollow cement structures with large holes to allow water to flow through them.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Artificial Reef Program began in 1987 with the deployment of its first artificial reef. The reef was constructed offshore from an obsolete oil and gas platform in South Marsh Island 146. Since the construction of that first reef the department has created over 115 at 34 sites from obsolete platforms. In 1991, the department deployed its first inshore artificial reef. These reefs were constructed from shell and limestone.

Reef balls are the department's latest attempt to evaluate clean, environmentally safe, low-profile materials for its inshore artificial reef program. In addition to the non-polluting aspects of the material, it must also be durable and stable, meaning the material must last a long time and must not move off location.

The reef balls were placed in 13 to 15 feet of water so that they do not pose a threat to navigation and will be evaluated for the marine life attracted to them as well as for their stability. Each ball was individually identified with brass placards listing telephone numbers and other contact information, should the balls move off the site.

The reefs are being constructed on the site of three old abandoned shell pads used by the oil and gas industry. The pads were certified to be environmentally clean, and are approximately 200 by 300 feet in size and have three to four feet of relief. The reef balls were placed around the perimeter of the pads.

The new reefs are a 15 minute boat ride from either Bonnabel or Williams boat launches. They are located approximately two and a half miles offshore and are about three miles west of the Causeway Bridge.

For more information, contact Rick Kasprzak at 225/765-2375




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