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We Agree: Use Oil Spill Fines to Restore the Gulf
Dedicating Clean Water Act penalties from the Deepwater Horizon disaster to Gulf Coast restoration is one of the most important short-term steps Congress can take as the one-year anniversary of the catastrophic Macondo blowout approaches. In recent days, two newspaper editorials have tackled the topic.
On January 31, the Scranton [Pennsylvania] Times-Tribune wrote: "It's a great idea not just because the Gulf Coast suffered the environmental consequences of the disaster, but because it would help to address a host of environmental issues that threatened the region long before the disaster…. And it will benefit all Americans by restoring natural protections against natural disasters, thus mitigating their impact and the need for taxpayers to pay for recovery."
We wholeheartedly agree.
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Third and Final MRGO Meeting Held, Public Comment Period Ends Monday
By Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation
The third and final public hearing on the draft plan to restore the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) ecosystem by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took place on Tuesday evening (Feb. 8) in New Orleans. About 100 people attended to hear more about the plan and voice their recommendations to the Corps. Previous meetings were held in Waveland, Ms. and Chalmette, La.
“These public hearings are a crucial part of the Corps’ planning process, and the MRGO Must Go Coalition is thrilled that so many members of conservation groups and people from around the affected communities have turned out to make their voices heard,” said Amanda Moore, coordinator of the MRGO Must Go Coalition.
While some of the meeting’s comments focused on specific aspects of the plan, others were aimed at driving home the fundamental principles of restoration... (continue reading here).
New Orleans Ranked First in Decade-Long Population Loss Due to Natural Disasters, Not Economic Decline
Guest post by Seyi Fayanju, Environmental Defense Fund
Between 2000 and 2009, New Orleans lost more than a quarter of its residents, outpacing Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and other struggling “Rust Belt” cities in its pace of population loss. This decline was largely attributable to the twin disasters of 2005: Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, and the catastrophic levee failures that occurred soon after. While the storm forced the temporary evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people, it was the floods afterwards that kept many New Orleanians from returning to their homes. The Big Easy has rebounded in a big way since 2005, but the population of Louisiana’s largest city remains well-below its pre-Katrina figure.
What will be needed to help New Orleans on the path to demographic recovery? The answer could lie in wetland rehabilitation and hazard mitigation... (continue reading here).
Louisiana's Christmas Tree Recycling Program: Reusing Trees to Rebuild the Coast
By Amanda Moore, National Wildlife Federation
One of the simplest ways Louisianans can help rebuild their coastal ecosystem is by participating in the Christmas tree recycling program. Jefferson Parish, for example, has constructed “Christmas tree cribs” along miles of wetland shoreline. Discarded Christmas trees are collected and then placed in the wooden cribs, to help break up wave energy and protect the wetlands from erosion. By donating a Christmas tree – or by getting dirty in the marsh and building cribs – anyone can join in to help save the wetlands. Check out the video to learn more.
Meet Amy Smith Kyle
Amy is a coastal conservation project manager
at The Nature Conservancy, where she helps manage the Conservancy's oyster restoration projects in coastal Louisiana. Amy has more than 20 years of experience working with conservation non-governmental organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Belize Audubon Society and World Wildlife Fund. While working with the Belize Audubon Society, Amy helped start up and manage a nature reserve and then studied avian diversity, abundance, and the foraging behavior of the American Redstart in a shade coffee plantation in Gallon Jug, Belize for her thesis research project
Currently, Amy oversees the Conservany's oyster reef restoration projects in Vermillion Bay and the Grand Isle/St. Bernard Marsh area of coastal Louisiana. "Oyster reefs provide important benefits to wildlife and people," explains Amy. "They create vital habit for numerous marine species, including fish, shrimp and crabs that support valuable commercial and recreational fishing industries."
Amy holds a Bachelor's of Science in Resource Economics and a Master's of Science in Wildlife Biology from the University of Vermont.