VENICE — Coastal Conservation Association’s REEF Louisiana Program dedicated the Green Monster Reef Complex, a set of two new artificial reefs in West Delta Blocks 23 and 24, on Wednesday west of Venice.
The reefs are being built on a former speckled trout fishing hotspot where an iconic oil and gas platform, known by many as “The Green Monster,” was removed recently.
Along with conservation partners Chevron, the stateDepartment of Wildlife and Fisheries, Madere & Sons Towing/Deep South Construction and Gainey’s Concrete Products, CCA’s REEF Louisiana program is building the two reef sites with a variety of recycled concrete “materials of opportunity.” Some of the materials, including recycled highway material, catch basins and concrete construction structures, lowered into the water Wednesday will become habitat for speckled trout, redfish and other important marine species.
One of the reefs. located on the site of the old Green Monster platform, will extend up to 300 feet in each direction. The second reef will be a short distance from the first.
Each of the new reefs will cover more than 2 acres and the site will total roughly five to six acres. Each reef is designed to optimize water and bottom conditions with hopes of creating the best possible fish habitat.
The reefs are in roughly 25 feet of water, and the materials will be placed on the bottom to create up to 6 feet of elevation.
CCA Louisiana Chairman Charlie Caplinger kicked off the dedication ceremony at Venice Marina by thanking all the project partners and by reflecting on the importance of the project.
“The Green Monster platform was one of the primary spots for Venice and Grand Isle anglers for decades,” Caplinger said. “As a Venice angler myself, we were all disappointed when it was removed. Now, along with our partners, CCA is here to replace that lost habitat. This is an historic event, and our efforts will provide an easily accessible fishing spot for anglers and their families to enjoy for generations.”
CCA Louisiana President John Walther was the lead volunteer for CCA on the effort. He explained the origins of the project Wednesday.
“While CCA has built dozens of reefs across Louisiana, this is only the fourth one we’ve built specifically to replace lost oil and gas platform habitat,” Walther said. “The habitat that is lost when these platforms are removed is some of the most productive habitat in the Gulf, so the opportunity to replace it with materials like these is one we could not pass up.”
Walther also said the process of planning and executing the project was long and difficult, but due to the efforts of partners and volunteers, one that will be worth the wait.
“This is the culmination of years of planning, site selection, working with user groups, finding material, and identifying partners,” he said. “Our members identified the Green Monster as a top-priority site for our REEF program, and we are proud to see it come to fruition today.”
Walther also mentioned he expects the reef will begin holding marine life in a matter of weeks.
Plaquemines CCA President Corey Illg, who was on hand for the dedication, credited fellow chapter members for introducing the idea to CCA’s Habitat Committee.
“For years, we were hearing that the Green Monster was scheduled to be removed, and that was scary to those of us who fished there for most of our lives,” Illg said. “Our chapter members approached the CCA Habitat Committee years ago to get this on the list. The completion of this project is a true representation of local member-driven efforts.”
LDWF’s Artificial Reef Program Coordinator Mike McDonough and talked about how important collaborations like this one are to the future of our aquatic ecosystems.
“On behalf of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, I’d like to thank all of the project partners for their effort that lead us to this point,” McDonough said Wednesday. “The nearshore reef program is designed to do exactly what we are doing here today, replacing habitat that is lost when platforms are removed. We will continue to look for opportunities like this across the coast.”
Money for the Green Monster project comes from CCA Louisiana, Chevron, CCA’s Building Conservation Trust and LDWF’s Artificial Reef Trust Fund, as well individual gifts from CCA REEF Louisiana Club members. In-kind donations are provided by Madere & Sons Towin/ Deep South Construction and Gainey’s Concrete Products.
Chevron remains one of CCA Louisiana’s most dedicated conservation partners and was primary partner on this project. Representatives were on hand to participate in the dedication.
Gainey’s Concrete Products donated recycled concrete materials for the project. Tim Sander from Gainey’s said his company was proud to be part of this important effort.
Officials from Plaquemines Parish were on hand for the dedication and commented on the efforts of the project partners.
“It is refreshing to see such a dedicated group of organizations and volunteers come together for such a worthwhile project here in Plaquemines Parish,” said John Helmers, Director of Coastal Resources and Communications. “On behalf of our Parish Government, we’d like to thank CCA and all of the project partners here today for their excellent work.”
This is the 27th reef project by CCA Louisiana in recent years, representing more than $12 million in habitat creation. It will be CCA’s fourth reef project built on the site of removed oil and gas platforms. The first was the “Pickets Reef Complex” in Ship Shoal Block 26, built in 2014. The second was the “Ted Beaullie Sr. Reef Complex,” built in South Marsh Island Block 233 in 2019. The most recent was the “Rawls Reef Complex,” built in Vermilion Blocks 119 & 124 in 2019. Each of these reefs have become prolific and abundant marine habitat and have quickly become popular hotspots for local anglers.
CCA’s REEF Louisiana Program is working on plans for other new reefs, including projects at South Timbalier 51, Bay Marchand 3, South Timbalier 165, Eugene Island 51, Vermilion 69 and West Cameron 45. All of these projects are part of the new REEF Louisiana Program, in which CCA, LDWF and our partners rebuild fisheries habitat on the sites of removed platforms. For more information about REEF Louisiana or to become a REEF Club Member, please contact David at (225) 952-9200.
Construction of the Green Monster Reef complex should take 7-10 days. Once work is completed, CCA will publicize the official GPS coordinates for the reefs.