Conservation groups say partnership between Louisiana, Corps essential for healthy environment, communities, industries, national economy
(Baton Rouge–August 24, 2011) Conservation groups expressed support for an agreement between Louisiana and federal officials to conduct an investigation focusing on the dynamic nature of the Lower Mississippi River and the interplay between restoration, navigation and flood control. Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) will collaborate on the analysis, officially called the Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study.
“Today’s agreement between CPRA and the Corps is a significant step toward a fully integrated approach to river management based on the best available science,” said a joint statement by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Environmental Defense Fund, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Louisiana Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation and The Nature Conservancy. “The Mississippi River is a dynamic and changing system. We have to understand those changes in order to implement effective solutions for restoration, flood control and navigation, which are all deeply interconnected.”
“Science tells us that the river is changing, and that the continued collapse of Louisiana’s wetlands will likely threaten our existing flood protection and navigation systems,” the groups continued. “This partnership between the CPRA and the Corps is necessary to meet the challenges associated with managing the Mississippi River for the multiple benefits it provides to the state and the nation.”
More more about this important agreement >>
This piece was originally posted on lacoast.gov.
On Monday (August 29), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wetlands Research Center announced the release of a new Louisiana coastal land loss video, dramatically detailing key findings portrayed in its new coastal map. The video can be found in the USGS Multimedia Gallery at: http://gallery.usgs.gov/videos/433 or on YouTube.com at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNkCml_VRcE.
This new video illustrates findings from the new Coastal Louisiana Land Area Change Map. The map will enable scientists and stakeholders alike to better understand the timing and causes of coastal wetlands loss. This information is critical for forecasting landscape changes in the future.
During the last eight decades, Louisiana has suffered from extreme coastal land changes. Since 1932, Coastal Louisiana has lost nearly 1,900 (1,883) square miles of wetland area, equaling the size of Delaware. Overall, Louisiana has experienced more coastal land loss than the lower 48 states combined.
“The rate of wetland loss from 1985-2010 has averaged 16.6 square miles each year,” said Brady Couvillion, USGS National Wetlands Research Center geographer. “If this loss were to occur at a constant rate, it would equate to losing more than a football field every hour."
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By Amanda Moore, National Wildlife Federation
At a news conference on August 17, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that important work was beginning on the Orleans Landbridge Shoreline Protection and Marsh Creation Project. The project will help protect the marsh that separates Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne, which is retreating at an alarming average of 7.7 feet per year.
In an exciting twist, this project will recycle more than 200,000 tons of crushed concrete from the demolished I-10 Twin Span Bridge, which was damaged during Hurricane Katrina. Not only does this project combine serious recycling with marsh restoration and protection, but beneficially reusing the concrete will reduce the project costs by more than $11 million or more than 25 percent. As Jim Tripp, Senior Counsel for Environmental Defense Fund, put it during the news conference, this project is a “Win-Win-Win”.
Read more about the Orleans Landbridge restoration project >>
The National Audubon Society is looking for two smart, passionate people to join the Mississippi River Delta restoration team. Open positions include Louisiana Vice President and State Director and Communications Coordinator for the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign. The Vice President position would be located in Baton Rouge, La., and the Communications Coordinator would be located in either Baton Rouge or Washington, DC.
Click here to read more about these positions and to apply online >>
By Amanda Moore, National Wildlife Federation
Next in our Faces of the Delta series, you will meet Captain Lambert: founder of Cajun Fishing Adventures, charter boat captain, lifetime South Louisiana resident and coastal restoration advocate.
Name: Captain Ryan Lambert
Location: Buras, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana
Occupation: Charter captain; Board President, Cajun Fishing Adventures; Vice President, Louisiana Charter Boat Association.
Tell me about your connection to south Louisiana. I am South Louisiana! I was born here. I love the culture, the people, and the outdoors. I live and breathe it. I grew up in Luling and run Cajun Fishing Adventures–one of the top five hunting and fishing lodges in North America.
What does south Louisiana mean to you? South Louisiana means a different way of life. It is culture-oriented. People live off the land and make their living from their hands. They share with others in the area. It’s unique.
What are your favorite things about the area? My favorite thing is accessibility to an abundance of outdoor activities. Nature is so vast here–we have 41% of our nation’s wetlands.
How has coastal land loss impacted your life? When I think about it, it brings a somber feeling to see what has happened to the richest estuary in North America. It makes me sad that nothing has really started to fix it in 30 years. We still have the top fishing in North America, but I’ve watched it decline over the years at a rapid rate. It saddens me to know the next two or three generations won’t be able to see what I’ve seen...
Continue reading Captain Lambert's story >>
Ryan is the campaign coordinator for Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation and National Audubon Society’s joint Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign. He is responsible for fostering internal communication and coordination within the campaign. He also heads up various aspects of the campaign’s external communications strategy including social media outreach as well as managing the campaign’s website. Ryan, along with the campaign director and field director, comprise the coalition’s central coordination team.
Ryan’s previous experience lies in field organizing. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008, he was accepted into and completed Green Corps’ Field School for Environmental Organizing. During his time with Green Corps, Ryan worked on a multitude of campaigns–from mobilizing community leaders to support a solar incentives bill in Texas–to running a successful state-wide campaign allowing public schools to purchase milk free of the artificial growth hormone rBGH. Ryan most recently worked as an organizer with Food & Water Watch on a ballot initiative campaign to improve livestock care standards within the farming industry.
“I’m excited to be working on this campaign primarily for the opportunity to empower those disenfranchised individuals who have had their homeland and communities swept away by forces beyond their control," says Ryan. "By working to restore the Mississippi River Delta, we’re not only saving one of the nation’s most important and pristine environmental ecosystems, we’re also having a direct impact on the lives of those living in that region.”