Conservation Organizations Thank Secretary Jewell for Visiting Gulf Coast

06.21.2016 | In Press Releases, Uncategorized

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

Conservation Organizations Thank Secretary Jewell for Visiting Gulf Coast
Groups Urge Investment in Large-Scale Restoration with BP Dollars

(New Orleans, LA – June 21, 2016) This week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is visiting Louisiana to highlight the Department’s restoration projects selected for funding last year by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) prior to the BP settlement.

Leading national and local conservation organizations working on Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation – supported these projects and released the following statement:

“We are grateful that Secretary Jewell is here this week to spotlight the region and these important restoration projects. Secretary Jewell now has an opportunity and responsibility to drive large-scale restoration that we need across the Gulf Coast. With real money becoming available through the BP oil spill settlement, Secretary Jewell, along with other agency and state leaders, has a specific window to move forward the Council’s commitment to large-scale projects that will set the Gulf Coast on a long-term path to a sustainable future.

“In particular, Louisiana's land loss crisis – and the effort to stop and reverse it – falls within the Department of the Interior's jurisdiction given the resources it's tasked with protecting.  We appreciate the Secretary's personal investment in getting restoration projects started on the ground and need her continued leadership and commitment in Louisiana and across the Gulf Coast.”

The Department of Interior (DOI) manages three parks or refuges in the lower Mississippi River Delta, one each in the Breton Basin, the active Bird’s Foot Delta, and the Barataria Basin, as well as several other refuges in the Pontchartrain Basin, Terrebonne Basin, the Atchafalaya Basin, and the Chenier Plain. These provide some of the continent’s most important habitat for DOI Trust Resources, including alligators, alligator snapping turtles, diamond-back terrapins, marsh birds, wintering waterfowl, colonial nesting water birds, migratory stopover habitat for neotropical migrants, and prime habitat for mink, muskrat, otter and Louisiana black bears. All are likely to experience profound effects from continued land loss and subsidence, and without land-building restoration measures are potentially doomed by future sea level rise.

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The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at www.mississippiriverdelta.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.