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Five conservation groups praised President Obama for maintaining his commitment to Gulf Coast restoration by recommending the first-ever funding to construct wetlands projects to reverse wetlands losses in the
Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) of the Mississippi River Delta.
The President’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget request for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fund LCA restoration is $27 million, including $10.845 million for wetlands feasibility studies, $5.4 million for wetlands pre-construction engineering and design studies, $10.62 million for wetlands construction projects and $100,000 for the LCA comprehensive plan (see page 23).
Congress has not acted yet on the President’s FY 2011 budget request, which included $35.6 million for the Corps to fund LCA ecosystem restoration, split between $19 million for wetlands construction projects and $16.6 million for wetlands pre-construction engineering and design studies... (continue reading here).
The 2011 Bassmaster Classic, held last weekend (Feb. 18-20) in New Orleans, showcased more than 50 of the world’s best bass anglers. It also drew attention to important efforts to revitalize what the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) calls a “Vanishing Paradise.”
B.A.S.S. LLC, a Florida-based membership organization with more than 500,000 bass anglers, which conducts the annual world championship of bass fishing, has partnered with the Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) and NWF in campaigns to promote the restoration and protection of Louisiana’s imperiled coastal wetlands and reconnect the Mississippi River to its delta.
“B.A.S.S. supports these efforts to protect and improve this great fishery that is so important to bass fishermen and other sportsmen,” said Jerry McKinnis, an owner of B.A.S.S. “Unless something is done to protect these coastal wetlands, the fantastic fishing we have now won’t be around for our children to enjoy.”
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By Angelina Freeman, Environmental Defense Fund
Dr. Greg Stone, a highly valued professor in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at Louisiana State University (LSU) and director of LSU’s Coastal Studies Institute (CSI), passed away on Thursday (Feb. 17) at the age of 53. Dr. Stone was an internationally respected coastal scientist whose research interests included waves, coastal morphyodynamics, and numerical modeling of sediment transport... (continue reading here).
By Angelina Freeman (Environmental Defense Fund), David Muth (National Wildlife Federation), and Bryan Piazza (The Nature Conservancy)
The Louisiana Coastal Area Program (LCA) Science and Technology Office and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) convened a meeting Feb. 23-24 on the technical issues of freshwater river diversions and the response of wetland soils and vegetation. The plants in coastal wetlands will drown if they cannot keep up with rising water levels.
This fact is especially evident in Louisiana, where the gradual rise of sea level is made relatively worse by rapid rates of subsidence (sinking land). To maintain surface elevations within the intertidal zone, wetlands need to add soil. Luckily, both by capturing sand and clay from the water and – just as importantly – by adding organic matter through root growth and leaf drop, healthy wetlands can increase their elevation.
One critical tool for ensuring the health of coastal Louisiana is to reconnect the wetlands to the river with diversions of river water and sediments. Diversions mimic the natural delta cycle that was interrupted with river levees and channelization... (continue reading here).
David Muth joined the National Wildlife Federation at the beginning of 2011 after working for the National Park Service at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve since 1980. At Jean Lafitte, he managed the park’s natural and cultural resources, including the
Barataria Preserve, a wetland in the upper basin on the outskirts of New Orleans that Congress set aside as a representative example of the delta ecosystem.
A native of New Orleans, David has had a lifelong love of the delta, including its landscapes, history, culture, and wildlife... (continue reading here).