Louisiana Oyster Cultch Project
The Louisiana Oyster Cultch Project involves (1) the placement of oyster cultch onto approximately 850 acres of public oyster seed grounds throughout coastal Louisiana and (2) construction of an oyster hatchery facility that would serve to improve existing oyster hatchery operations and produce supplemental larvae and seed.
Oyster Cultch Placement Component
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will contract for the placement of cultch material onto approximately 850 acres of public oyster seed grounds throughout coastal Louisiana, including 3-Mile Bay, Drum Bay, Lake Fortuna, South Black Bay, Hackberry Bay and Sister Lake. Cultch material consists of limestone rock, crushed concrete, oyster shell and other similar material that, when placed in oyster spawning areas, provides a substrate on which free swimming oyster larvae can attach and grow into oysters. The cultch materials are planned to be placed at a planting density of 200 cubic yards/acre, although adjustments to this planting density may be made depending upon water bottom characteristics at the time of project implementation. The Oyster Cultch placements will employ cultch planting approaches utilized by LDWF since 1917.
Oyster Hatchery Component
The second portion of the project involves constructing an oyster hatchery facility that would serve to improve existing oyster hatchery operations to help facilitate and expedite success of the cultch placement. In order to provide a supplemental source of oyster larvae and oyster seed, LDWF will contract to construct a new building adjacent to the existing Sea Grant oyster hatchery located at the LDWF facility on Grand Isle, Louisiana. Larvae produced at the hatchery can be released into the water directly over cultch material or be remotely set on oyster cultch to create oyster seed. The new facility would be located next to the LDWF Research Lab at a site leased by LDWF, from the Grand Isle Port Commission, located at 133 Port Drive in Grand Isle, Louisiana. The site, which is currently undeveloped, is approximately 20,186 square feet, and is owned by the Grand Isle Port Commission and leased by LDWF. Louisiana State University plans to construct an additional building at this site prior to construction of the hatchery facility; this building is not part of this Early Restoration Project. The footprint of the hatchery building is proposed to be approximately 8400 sq ft. Parking will be available onsite. Oyster hatchery activities currently housed at the LDWF Research Lab in Grand Isle, Louisiana will relocate to the new hatchery building once it is constructed.
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