Building Up the Reef
Pontchartrain Conservancy, in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, launched a new artificial reef program this week.
The sites include the Lake Borgne Shell Pad, Grand Banks, West Karako Bay and Cabbage Reef. These reefs will increase hard-bottom habitat in an otherwise soft muddy water bottom, allowing increased opportunity for larval settlement and biological benefits in the area.
The newly-constructed artificial reef sites will be created from over 80 cubic yards of oyster shell, 880 tons of limestone, and 130 reefballs. These sites will be deployed across a broad range of salinities, which are within the optimum range for popular recreational saltwater species like speckled trout, redfish, and flounder. All inshore artificial reef sites are protected from oyster harvest, allowing oysters growing within the four reef permit areas to serve as a broodstock and continue to assist the nearby oyster population for the future.
“The Pontchartrain Conservancy is thrilled to partner with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on the artificial reef program, which will provide a more productive fish habitat while enhancing recreational fishing in Lake Borgne and the Mississippi Sound,” said Kristi Trail, executive director of Pontchartrain Conservancy.
“The reefs will disrupt currents in these waterways and provide critical hard structure, allowing better habitat for bottom-dwelling organisms. These invertebrates form the base of the food web and support larger species, including sport fish.”
For more information, including additional reef locations and maps, please visit the Louisiana Artificial Reef Program site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/artificial-reef-program.