Bill dedicates oil spill fines to restore Gulf ecosystems, communities & economies
A coalition of groups supporting Gulf restoration thanked Members from both sides of the aisle who introduced a bill on October 5 that will ensure that 80 percent of penalties paid by BP and others responsible for last year’s Gulf oil disaster are used to help restore the region, not for unrelated federal spending. The RESTORE Gulf Coast States Act of 2011 was introduced by U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) as lead sponsor, along with more than 20 other bipartisan leaders as joint co-sponsors.
Continue reading the joint statement here>>
By Alisha A. Renfro, Ph.D., National Wildlife Federation
Last summer’s BP oil disaster was the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The assessment of the damage to the Gulf of Mexico from the oil—as well as the dispersants that were used in the clean-up effort—is still underway. A new report released last month by the Pew Environment Group titled “A Once and Future Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem
" looks to the future of recovery from this tragic event. For the report, Pew brought together 18 prominent scientists and experts to identify the challenges to this essential ecosystem’s recovery and to identify specific actions, strategies and recommendations that will create the best path forward towards a healthy and productive Gulf.
Continue reading Alisha's analysis here>>
This piece was originally posted on the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana's Coast Currents blog.
By Scott Madere, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
The first clue that things were going to be different today was the blue rectangle under the "No Parking" sign at the boat launch. "Beware of Bears," it read. I’ve lived my whole life in Louisiana and I’ve never seen one of those. But it was only one of many firsts for me as we headed into the Wax Lake Delta that morning, to discover one of Louisiana’s most pristine paradises… and possibly the key to saving Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.
With me on the excursion were about 30 companions from the National Audubon Society, the Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. While many of us were locals, there were plenty of explorers from Washington, D.C., some of whom had never been in a Louisiana marsh before.
It was only fitting, then, that their first experience should begin with a short trip through the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, the shipping highway that unites the entire Louisiana coast, and the path to our destination, the Wax Lake Outlet. Our party traveled in five boats on calm waters, past barges and fishermen, the usual signs of activity on the Intracoastal. I found myself thinking ahead to what I would find in the Delta, almost missing something truly extraordinary happening on the bank to my right...
Find out what Scott and the others saw by clicking here>>
By Chris Pulaski, National Wildlife Federation
Next in our Faces of the Delta series, you will meet Father Roch Naquin: Isle de Jean Charles native and current resident, priest and coastal restoration advocate.
Name: Father Roch Naquin
Location: Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana
Tell me about your connection to south Louisiana. I was born and raised about 100 feet from my current home in Isle de Jean Charles, La. I was born at 2:00 am on September 25, 1932 to Joseph and Irena Naquin, number four of six children (three boys and three girls). I joined the St. Joseph Seminary in St. Benedict/Covington area north of New Orleans and was there until 1962. I then served across southeast Louisiana until my retirement in 1997.
What does south Louisiana mean to you? It means home. It is the place where I grew up and the place to stay. It’s special because I learned to appreciate everything the area has to offer: livelihood, peace, food and outdoor opportunities (fishing, trapping, hunting and the ability to grow our own crops). Before the road to the island was built and before the television existed, there was more of a family sense of closeness. On Sundays, you would go from house to house to visit. Trips into town were rare and involved taking a pirogue to the highway and a bus from there to Houma.
Continue reading Father Naquin's story here>>
By Seyi Fayanju, Environmental Defense Fund
Want a peek at what barrier island restoration looks like? Thanks to the Bayou Land Resource Conservation & Development Council and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, you’ll have a chance to see it first-hand and get your hands dirty in the process at a two-day volunteer event scheduled to take place today and tomorrow on Elmer’s Island.
Volunteers will be working with organization staff on sand fence installation and dune grass planting projects along the shoreline of Elmer’s Island, a sliver of barrier beachfront near Grand Isle in lower Jefferson Parish. Refreshments and required work equipment will be provided on-site.
This area, which was severely impacted by the BP oil disaster last year, is one of many shoreline habitats needing continued help in its recovery from the spill. Volunteer events like this one provide a great opportunity for local residents interested in restoration jobs to sample some of the day-to-day tasks involved in environmental rehabilitation, a field that will likely grow in importance as comprehensive plans to restore coastal Louisiana move forward in Baton Rouge and Washington.
If you are interested in volunteering for tomorrow’s dune grass planting, please register online here or contact the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana by calling 1-(888)-LACOAST or by email at email@example.com.