Posted: Jul 12, 2013 6:25 PM by Chris Welty
Updated: Jul 12, 2013 6:52 PM
In Iberia Parish, a big environmental project is underway.
In Cypremort Point, officials have started construction of a new artificial reef. Once complete, the reef will cover more than eight acres of Vermilion Bay, helping to strengthen the marine environment. This is no ordinary reef. It's taking on a special meaning for one Acadiana family.
Dozens gathered at Cypremort Point to officially begin construction of an artificial reef. The reef is dedicated to the Ortemond family.
Last year, father and son Leon and David Ortemond died in a boat crash on Vermilion Bay. The family was always on the water and had a passion for boats.
"We grew up here fishing and boating in Vermilion Bay," said Lance Ortemond.
Nearly six months ago, the Ortemond family was asked to partner with the Coastal Conservation Association to build the reef.
"We're not doing this reef in Grand Isle, we're building it in our backyard. It's only fitting it will be named after them," said Ortemond.
About 10,000 tons of recycled concrete and brick is being used to create the artificial reef.
"This material is being barged out here from Baldwin and is being put on the bottom. It will be a great place for fishing, a great area for the ecosystem and will be a great benefit for Vermilion Bay," said John Walther with the Coastal Conservation Association.
For Lance Ortemond, being on the water and seeing the reef's progress brings back memories of being with his dad and brother on the water.
"Other people will be able to take their kids fishing and enjoy water just like they did."
Construction of the artificial reef is expected to take just seven to ten days.