Caminada Headlands Beach and Dune Restoration
Rebuilding nearly six miles of degraded dunes to protect communities, infrastructure and habitat from coastal erosion.
Louisiana’s coastline has been losing wetlands at a rate of 16 square miles a year during the past 25 years, equal to the loss of a football field of coast every hour. At current land-loss rates, nearly 640,000 more acres, an area nearly the size of Rhode Island, will be underwater by 2050.
The Caminada Headland, located on Louisiana’s far southern coast, is on the front lines of this struggle to preserve coastal lands. Hurricanes, tropical storms and rising sea levels had severely degraded the beach and dune along this stretch of coast, losing 35 feet per year on average to the encroaching Gulf of Mexico. The Caminada Headlands project reinforced almost six miles of barrier habitat, reducing the impacts of storm events on critical oil and gas infrastructure in Port Fourchon and Highway 1, an important hurricane evacuation route for the region.
The solution called for dredging sand from an offshore site, pumping it through a long pipe and depositing it along the coastline to recreate the natural headland beach and dune. GeoEngineers’ coastal engineering experts were called upon to determine how much the new sand would gradually settle, which helped our client determine how much new sand was needed and how the new dunes would withstand natural forces over time.
The original project design allowed for a foot of settlement. After our exploration, lab testing and engineering calculations, we found that the sand would likely settle three times that much. Using this information, the design team determined 3.3 million cubic yards of sand would be required to create the new dune. By predicting how the new sand would settle over time, GeoEngineers helped our client design a longer-lasting, more resilient barrier to coastal erosion.
The Caminada Headlands project was completed in 2014 and is demonstrating a positive impact on coastal erosion rates. Follow-up measurements indicated that GeoEngineers’ predictions regarding settlement rates for the imported sand were accurate.