Volunteers needed to plant 10,000 plugs of native grass on Rutherford Beach

Published 10:03 pm Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Dozens of volunteers will plant native grasses and install sand fencing Nov. 18 and 19 at Rutherford Beach in Cameron Parish. The work will help grow and stabilize beach dunes, minimize erosion and create habitat for wildlife. Potential volunteers are urged to sign up online as soon as possible since the number of registrants is nearing capacity.

The volunteer project is being hosted by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, the first statewide nonprofit dedicated to confronting coastal land loss in Louisiana. The project at Rutherford Beach is a continuation of work along the beach that began in November 2021, during which volunteers installed 6,000 linear feet of sand fencing and planted 10,000 plugs of bitter panicum.

“This is an opportunity for the people of south Louisiana to make a difference in defending our future here,” said Gardner Goodall, Native Plants Program coordinator at CRCL. “This project will expedite the dune-formation process, strengthening a critical line of defense for inland communities in the face of hurricanes. The dunes will also serve as high-quality nesting habitat for a variety of migratory birds that the public can enjoy.” 

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In Louisiana, more than 2,000 square miles of coastal wetlands, including beaches, have turned into open water in less than a century. Southwest Louisiana has been particularly hard hit, with recent hurricanes accelerating land loss.

CRCL, which was founded in 1988, has been fighting coastal land loss by planting native plants and trees and recycling oyster shell, among other methods. With its volunteers, the organization has planted more than 3 million grasses and trees and recycled more than 10.5 million pounds of oyster shell. CRCL is supported by individual donors, corporate sponsors and grants.

Young people are welcome to register as volunteers at Rutherford Beach; the minimum age is 10. Volunteer check-in will begin both days at 8:30 a.m. All equipment required by volunteers will be provided by CRCL, as will premade lunches and drinks. Close-toed shoes are required. Directions to and details about the site will be provided to registered volunteers a few days prior to the event.

Sponsors of the Rutherford Beach restoration project are Restore America’s Estuaries and Cheniere Energy.