Through its subsidiary, The Louisiana Land and Exploration Company LLC (LL&E), ConocoPhillips is the largest private wetlands owner in Louisiana. The company recently built on its collaborative history with the South Lafourche Levee District (SLLD) to raise a portion of Section D-South of the Larose to Golden Meadow Hurricane Protection System.
When storms threaten the Louisiana coast, levees are a critical part of the state’s line of protection against storm surge and flood waters. Since the 1970s, the SLLD has had the responsibility of providing flood protection for the community of South Lafourche. No one takes this responsibility more seriously than Windell Curole, the SLLD’s General Manager and Executive Secretary of the Board. Windell has been working to protect his community and state by maintaining the district’s intricate levee system for nearly 40 years.
Preserving an infrastructure system as large as the SLLD’s levees is a tremendous undertaking, which is why Windell and his office believe in collaborating with local partners that have the same community resiliency priorities in mind. For years, the SLLD has partnered with ConocoPhillips in levee system enhancement and maintenance efforts. Many sections of the SLLD’s levee system are located on and around ConocoPhillips’ land, and the company has a long history of providing cost-free servitudes/rights of way and other forms of assistance to the SLLD. Over the years, more than eight miles of SLLD levee have either been built or enhanced on ConocoPhillips’ property with free access to the levee district.
Most recently, the SLLD worked with ConocoPhillips to harvest over 100,000 cubic yards of earthen material along an existing drainage canal on LL&E land to raise approximately 2,200 feet of the D-South levee by 4.5 feet to a height of 18 feet. In the process, a significant portion of the canal was expanded which makes for more efficient flow. The expanded canal further enhances the system that protects approximately 25,000 South Lafourche residents and critical infrastructure and assets belonging to Port Fourchon and the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) storage facility.
“I’ve worked with ConocoPhillips for many years on dozens of projects to protect our levees and wetlands. Delivering on this levee enhancement project, particularly in these trying times, is a testament to our longstanding partnership and an example of how we must think creatively to solve the unique challenges facing Louisiana’s coastal communities,” said Windell.
“We are proud to work with Windell and his team to contribute to ensuring our communities are protected from floods. We always keep an open line of communication when it comes to restoration projects. Coastal restoration will only effectively occur through collaborative solutions and effective partnerships. Through LL&E, ConocoPhillips has worked with state and local agencies on flood protection and coastal restoration projects for more than 60 years. Often the most effective partnerships are those that leverage different strengths. Our land access for levee infrastructure paired with the expertise, management and execution of the SLLD makes for a very successful partnership,” said ConocoPhillips Coastal Wetlands Director John Harrington.