Rotorcraft Leasing Company Helps DU Conserve America’s Wetland
Louisiana Coastal Restoration Vital for Waterfowl, People
Lafayette, La. -(Ammoland) April 15, 2009 – Coastal Louisiana is comprised of vast areas of wetlands with few roads. It also contains the most highly threatened wetlands in North America. Simply stated – it’s a big place with big problems, and the best way to get a sense of both is from the air. In March, Broussard-based Rotorcraft Leasing Company donated helicopter time to Ducks Unlimited to deliver that experience to important supporters.
“All of the Rotorcraft staff were very accommodating and ensured that the flights were safe, comfortable and educational,” said DU Director of Public Policy Ross Melinchuk. “Without their generous donation of helicopter time, we would have been unable to convey the full impact of coastal marsh loss.”
“Louisiana’s coastal wetlands are vitally important to the people who live here, the state’s economy and the oil and gas industry,” said Rodger Bagwell, CEO for Rotorcraft Leasing Company. “We are very pleased to do our part in providing organizations like DU with the means to restore America’s Wetland.”
In a normal year, more than ten million ducks and geese winter in the coastal marshes of Louisiana. These same marshes supply 30 to 40 percent of the commercial seafood harvested in the U.S., and support the infrastructure through which more than one-fourth of the nation’s oil and natural gas flows.
“Unfortunately, Louisiana has lost nearly 1.5 million acres of coastal wetlands and continues to lose 15,000 to 20,000 acres per year,” said DU Manager of Conservation Programs Bob Dew. “According to the best projections, nearly 500,000 acres will be lost by the year 2050. Large-scale restoration efforts will be required in order to offset these losses.”
The greatest threat to waterfowl is loss of interior freshwater and intermediate coastal marsh to sea level rise and altered hydrology. DU has a goal of conserving 250,000 acres of foraging habitat on coastal prairies, slowing or reversing marsh loss, and restoring the processes that sustain these wetlands.
“The rates of loss are incredible, and the stakes for waterfowl are high. Opportunities like those provided by Rotorcraft’s donation increase the support for the work we are trying to accomplish. When people see first-hand the immense stretches of open water and dying marsh, they can not help but be moved to become part of the solution,” Dew said.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with more than 12 million acres conserved. To date, DU has delivered 86,914 acres of enhanced, restored and protected habitat in the coastal zone of Louisiana. But habitat loss continues at an incredible rate. An area the size of a football field is lost every 38 minutes totaling 25-30 square miles each year! DU actively works on the ground as well as through policy initiatives to restore the Louisiana coast.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with almost 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands ? nature’s most productive ecosystem ? and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.