by Nancy Thompson, Photography by Jack Thompson
ConocoPhillips’ history as a landowner in Louisiana dates back more than 100 years. Through its subsidiary, the Louisiana Land and Exploration Company LLC (LL&E), the company owns approximately 636,000 acres of predominantly marshland across eight parishes, spanning 120 miles east to west and 85 miles north to south.
ConocoPhillips’ Coastal Wetlands office in Houma, Louisiana was built in the 1930s and maintains much the same footprint today. Team members handle leasing activity for company land, manage property boundaries, and continue environmental stewardship through participation in coastal restoration initiatives vital to community sustainability.
Coastal Wetlands Patrol Josh Soileau and Jeff Bacon refresh property signs to maintain boundary lines and preserve company assets. Behind them, a tree that succumbed to saltwater intrusion protrudes from the marsh. ConocoPhillips collaborates with both public and nonprofit entities on projects to restore the balance between salt and fresh water and revitalize damaged or displaced wetland systems along the Louisiana coast.
Houma native Gina Fanguy, senior surface land analyst, has worked for ConocoPhillips for 11 years. Gina handles mapping needs for leasing activity among other responsibilities for Coastal Wetlands.
Ordis “Buddy” Smith, supervisor, Coastal Wetlands Operations prepares to embark on an aerial surveillance flight to observe permitted operations.
Coastal Wetlands Operations Specialist Shannon Buquet prepares to take visitors on an airboat outing to view restoration project sites and other Coastal Wetlands areas and habitats.
For decades, ConocoPhillips has practiced responsible stewardship of its coastal wetlands. In 1990, the Louisiana legislature passed House Concurrent Resolution No. 189, commending LL&E for its many contributions to the preservation and restoration of the environment and natural resources of Louisiana, particularly the vast wetlands of the state’s coastal region. In addition, ConocoPhillips works closely with numerous universities that require access to wetland marshes for ecological research and studies.This water control structure promotes effective freshwater flow and combats saltwater intrusion.
LL&E is a pioneer of water control structure implementation, with installation dating back to the 1950s. A significant number of historical LL&E structures, some operating for nearly 70 years, are still functioning, along with new structures installed through ConocoPhillips’ continued collaboration with Ducks Unlimited and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
An aerial view of a barge installing a rock-and-mud plug along the shoreline of Lost Lake in Terrebonne Parish to help maintain an existing marsh habitat unit.
Coastal Wetlands Director John Harrington and Ducks Unlimited Coastal Restoration Coordinator Leslie Suazo discuss the Golden Meadow Marsh creation project with Windell Curole, South Lafourche Levee District general manager. Restoration projects delivered with ConocoPhillips’ collaboration enhance marsh conditions, benefiting a wide variety of species and strengthening communities.
For many years, ConocoPhillips has provided land access, and in some cases earthen material, for critical flood control infrastructure such as this levee. A large portion of our property is within the state of Louisiana’s master plan. The company works with local, state and federal agencies to ensure property access and synergies for current and future flood control plans.
The company’s longstanding partnership with Ducks Unlimited focuses on finding innovative solutions to coastal restoration. Joint projects include marsh terracing, freshwater enhancements, marsh creation, and a variety of shoreline protection techniques.