Louisiana Children Highlight Importance of Coastal Restoration at State Capitol
Youth advocates presented ‘Restore the Coast. Protect Their Future’ books to coastal authority board
BATON ROUGE (Dec. 19, 2019) — Louisiana coastal youth advocates stressed the urgency of Louisiana’s land loss crisis and the need for large-scale coastal restoration to members of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) board during a presentation on Wednesday, Dec.18 at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge. Students hand-delivered books highlighting the results of Restore the Mississippi River Delta’s year-long “Restore the Coast. Protect Their Future” campaign to encourage CPRA board members and Louisiana’s leaders and elected officials to continue to address Louisiana’s coastal land loss crisis with urgency.
“Louisiana’s coast is important to me because I don’t want to lose the state, so we need to restore the coast to protect our future,” said Feilong Duong, a 10-year-old student from Marrero featured who presented at the board meeting on Wednesday.
Louisiana is losing a football field of land every 100 minutes, and the science tells us it’s getting worse. Without a suite of comprehensive, large-scale coastal restoration projects to help build and maintain land, Louisiana’s people and their homes will face continued threats. Without action, Louisiana is projected to lose up to an additional 4,000 square miles over the next 50 years. The decisions made today by the state’s elected officials and leaders will determine what kind of Louisiana we leave for future generations.
“Coastal Louisiana is home to millions of people, including the youth advocates who delivered a clear message at today’s CPRA meeting — if we don’t do what is necessary to restore coastal Louisiana and protect our communities, future generations will feel the impacts on a massive scale,” said Steve Cochran, campaign director for Restore the Mississippi River Delta. “The future of our great state—and our communities, economy, wildlife and unique culture—is in jeopardy of washing away without swift continued action.”
According to Chip Kline, CPRA board chair and director at the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities, “Leaders at all levels of government, as well as everyday citizens, need to work together to achieve increased protection and provide a resilient future for the people of the region. I am inspired seeing these and other youth advocates champion the urgency of coastal land loss and the importance of coastal restoration and protection. The work our state is doing today is absolutely vital to the future we leave our children and grandchildren here in Louisiana.”
Louisiana’s wetlands are essential to the entire nation, and the loss of these ecosystems has profound effects beyond Louisiana. Louisiana contains five of the nation’s 15 largest shipping ports by tonnage, provides 30 percent of commercial fishing landings in the lower 48 states, and generates $9.3 billion per year in tourism. To date, Louisiana has lost 1.2 million acres of land. Recent catastrophes, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the BP oil disaster exacerbated this coastal crisis.
There are many ways to get involved in the fight to save coastal Louisiana. From volunteering to contacting elected officials to attending public meetings and other events, all Americans have the power to make a difference in restoring Louisiana’s coast. To view the campaign or get involved, visit RestoreTheCoast.org.
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacques Hebert, Environmental Defense Fund, 504.264.6849, email@example.com
Lauren Bourg, National Audubon Society, 225.776.9838, firstname.lastname@example.org
James Karst, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, email@example.com
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, firstname.lastname@example.org
About Restore the Mississippi River Delta:
Restore the Mississippi River Delta 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, the 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 MississippiRiverDelta.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.