PORT FOURCHON, La. (Army News Service, July 12, 2010) -- Soldiers of the Louisiana National Guard are reinforcing oil protection structures along the coasts of Grand Isle and Port Fourchon, La.

In May, Soldiers with the 769th Engineer Battalion, 225th Engineer Brigade, built a 2,000-foot-long rock wall several feet high to serve as a barrier against oil encroaching on the marshlands.

The Guardsmen, from the 527th Engineer Battalion, 225th Engineer Brigade, are now adding an additional 500 feet to the wall to increase the protection. The height of the wall will also be raised by roughly three feet to keep the tide from washing over it.

"The 769th finished the rock wall back in May, but after weeks of being beaten by waves and tides, we need to make it stronger so it can continue to be a useful asset," said Staff Sgt. Ryan W. Norred, noncommissioned officer in charge of the project.

On the other end of the island, Soldiers are reinforcing a land bridge so they can easily drive their vehicles to their work sites. They must battle inclement weather and rough seas during their 12-hour work shift.

"We're going to build the bridge up about three feet and add a ramp on the east side so vehicles can easily maneuver," said Norred.

These oil-protection structures are significant because they increase Louisiana's chances to fight the oil coming in from the Gulf of Mexico into the delicate marshlands.

"The structures built by the National Guard are really helping us fight the oil by keeping it near the beaches and out of the marshes," said Windell Curole, director of the South Lafourche Parish levee district. Curole explained that it is easier to fight the oil on the beaches than in the marshes.

"We really appreciate what the Guard is doing out here, because their efforts are really helping our community combat the oil spill," Curole said.

(Sgt. Michael L. Owens writes for the Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office)