Louisiana Governor, Ducks Unlimited to Restore Coastal Wetlands
LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana – Tuesday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced that Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) is signing a cooperative agreement with Ducks Unlimited, a leading conservation organization, to restore and protect nearly 2,500 acres of coastal marshland in Southwest Louisiana. A combined $3.26 million in state funds, federal grant money and private donations will be used to construct 250,000 linear feet of marsh terraces in areas that were once healthy marsh, but have become open water due to the effects of saltwater intrusion and wave action, largely from Hurricanes Rita and Ike.
Governor Jindal said, “This project shows what we can accomplish when we work hand-in-hand with private organizations who share our mission of rebuilding coastal wetlands and our essential natural habitats – while helping to better-protect our people from future storms. We will continue to work closely with local communities to address their needs for protection while also working side by side with conservation organizations including Ducks Unlimited to ensure the sustainability of our coastal ecosystems.”
Ducks Unlimited Executive Vice President Don Young added, “Today’s agreement with the State of Louisiana represents yet one more tangible example of Ducks Unlimited’s commitment to protecting this vital coastline for wildlife and people. Conservation of the Gulf Coast’s wetlands is one of the key priorities of Ducks Unlimited’s continent-wide Wetlands for Tomorrow Campaign. This noteworthy undertaking will protect vital energy and social infrastructure as well as the wildlife and recreational opportunities the coast of Louisiana is so well known for. We thank Governor Jindal for his strong leadership in making this project a reality.”
Don Young and Gov. Jindal seal the deal.
Ducks Unlimited received a $1 million grant from the federal government through the North American Wetland Conservation Act and CPRA is allocating $2.1 million from the coastal protection and restoration fund. The balance of the $3.26 million total is made up of a combination of public and private contributions. Other partners on the project include BP America, the Pennington Foundation, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Miami Corporation, Curt Marcantel, Jim Bel, Sempra Energy, Shell Oil, NOAA, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The funds will be used to construct marsh terraces – long, narrow ridges – which will limit saltwater intrusion, break up waves that can cause additional coastal erosion, improve water quality and spur plant growth.
The project will also restore and protect the natural habitat for the nation’s waterfowl that migrate to Louisiana each winter. Louisiana’s coastal marshes host up to 10 million of the nation’s wintering waterfowl every year.
Governor Jindal was joined by CPRA Chairman Garret Graves and Ducks Unlimited Executive Vice President Don Young – who both signed the agreement authorizing the release of state restoration funds and making state coastal scientists, engineers and equipment available to build the project.
“The state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Master Plan not only aims to restore wetlands and protect communities, but also preserve and protect the cultural heritage and wildlife that make our coast so important and unique,” said CPRA Chairman Graves. “A project like this one, in which the state works with a conservation organization like Ducks Unlimited to provide better protection, better habitat for waterfowl and to preserve the resources that make our state such a tremendous place to hunt and fish are exactly the kind of projects we will be building.”
Ducks Unlimited is the largest wetlands conservation organization in the world, with close to 700,000 members in the U.S. and nearly 17,000 in Louisiana. The top priority of Ducks Unlimited is to preserve essential habitat for ducks and geese.