CAILLOU LAKE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has built a new 200- acre (81-hectare) oyster reef in south Louisiana.
The 200-acre reef in Caillou Lake will be closed to all oystering for at least two years to let tiny oyster larvae latch on and grow, the department said in a news release last week.
Enough crushed limestone to fill nearly 1,500 22-foot-long (6.7-meter) dumpsters was spread on the lake bottom to create the new reef.
Caillou Lake was chosen because it has historically been one of Louisiana’s most productive oyster seed grounds, according to a news release.
A similar 365-acre project created in 2012 now provides about 30 percent of the available oyster resources west of the Mississippi River.
Caillou Lake, also known as Sister Lake, is in Terrebonne Parish about 15 miles southwest of Dulac.
Money from the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment settlement dollars was used to create the reef. The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has approved 26 million dollars in oyster projects, including brood reefs, cultch planting — the process used in Caillou Lake — and hatchery-based oyster restoration.
In addition to providing habitat for oysters, reefs serve as a habitat for marine life from mussels and shrimp to saltwater sport fish such as speckled trout, redfish and flounder.