New Delta Dispatches Blog
Happy New Year! Don't forget to check out our new Delta Dispatches blog, www.deltadispatches.org, where we will be posting the same informative stories you're used to seeing in the Delta Dispatches e-newsletter, plus additional media and stories. Check it out, subscribe to updates, and visit often to stay informed about our work to restore coastal Louisiana!
Groups Urge Congress to Heed Oil Spill Commission Recommendation to Use Clean Water Act Fines for Gulf Restoration
Eight non-profit groups Tuesday (Jan. 11) called on Congress
to heed a key recommendation in the final report from the bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The recommendation is that “Congress should dedicate 80 percent of the Clean Water Act penalties to long-term restoration of the Gulf of Mexico” (see page 280 of report).
“The oil spill commission recognizes that we cannot compound one tragedy with another,” said a joint statement by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Environmental Defense Fund, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Ocean Conservancy, Oxfam America, and The Nature Conservancy. “Absent congressional action, Clean Water Act fines automatically will be deposited into the federal treasury. Congress should invest Clean Water Act penalties in the aggressive and comprehensive restoration of the ecosystem..." (continue reading here).
A Partridge in a Pear Tree: National Audubon Society's 111th Annual Christmas Bird Count
By David J. Ringer, National Audubon Society
The National Audubon Society wrapped up its 111th Christmas Bird Count (CBC) this week. The survey sends tens of thousands of volunteers into the field across the Western Hemisphere each year. Their mission: to count all the birds – both number of species and individuals – that they can find in 15-mile-wide circular study sites. Over time, all of this data has proved to be a valuable indicator of bird population trends.
In coastal Louisiana, the history of the Christmas Bird Count stretches all the way back to 1900, the very first year the count was held. That year, a woman identified only as Mrs. L.G. Baldwin reported eight species from Baldwin, La., between New Iberia and Morgan City.
This year, of course, participants were counting in the wake of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster... (continue reading here).
Let Your Voice Be Heard: Public Comment Period for MRGO Draft Restoration Plan Is Underway
By Amanda Moore, National Wildlife Federation
Update to our previous post: The 60-day public comment period is open for the Army Corps of Engineers' Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) Draft Restoration Plan. The restoration of the ecosystem along the MRGO will help to protect the City of New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish by providing a coastal buffer to storm surge and waves. In addition, restoration will increase coastal resiliency to subsidence and sea level rise and keep our estuaries healthy and productive.
The public voice is critical for both a strong plan and implementation funding. The Corps and Congress need to hear from you to ensure a healthy and resilient coastal buffer between the New Orleans area and the Gulf of Mexico... (continue reading here).
Oil Spill Commission Forum Stresses Need for Tougher Industry Standards, Better Safety Practices, and Coastal Restoration
The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling held a public forum Wednesday (Jan. 12) in New Orleans to discuss the commission’s
final report that was released the day before with approximately 250 interested members of the public. Representatives from the National Wildlife Federation’s coastal Louisiana restoration team and oil spill commission members Donald F. Boesch and Frances G. Beinecke attended the public meeting.
The commission members summarized the report’s findings and recommendations, including the need for tougher industry standards, better safety practices, and increased scientific research. Additionally, the report recommends raising the current $75 million oil spill liability cap and dedicating at least 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines to restore the Gulf... (continue reading here).