Wetlands Education

RESTORE Act became law on July 6, 2012, ensuring that 80% of Clean Water Act (CWA) fines from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are used to rebuild the Gulf Coast (otherwise, those fines would have gone to the general treasury fund). This is an unprecedented, historic and monumental policy victory for the region and entire nation. Thank you to THF supporters, friends, conservation organizations and congressional members who worked diligently to help pass this bill. We were thrilled to play a small role.

The fines, that BP will pay for violating CWA, go to the five Gulf states under RESTORE Act guidelines. The Department of Justice is currently negotiating a settlement for the amount of fines to be paid. Here in Louisiana, we have a State Coastal Master Plan that sets forth a bold 50-year plan for rebuilding wetland vegetation, coastal ecosystems and hurricane risk reduction mechanisms. Passing RESTORE Act law is just the first step in a long term restoration process. Now we must work to fully fund that law. Economic research studies (e.g. Mather) indicate that RESTORE Act could produce as many as 60,000 jobs across the Gulf, with the average coastal worker earning approximately $56,000 per year. This region has the potential to usher in a new era known as the: coastal restoration economy. The Louisiana First Hire Act is an example of policy focused on empowering local youth and adults to prepare for the emerging economic opportunities. Now is the time to increase awareness about these important issues. Be a voice for the coast: Stay engaged for updates on the most effective way you can utilize your network to help decrease land loss and coastal erosion. Sign-up for our email alerts. Despite appearances and advertising campaigns to the contrary, the gulf is still reeling from the spill. We must now work to hold BP accountable to the full extent of the law, making sure they pay the maximum clean water act fines – which will go toward fully funding the RESTORE Act law. Rebuilding the gulf’s economies, communities and ecosystems depend on it.

The Mississippi River Delta is where America’s longest river spills into the Gulf of Mexico. The Delta and Louisiana’s coast are vital:

☆ 1/3 of the largest shipping ports in the U.S.
☆ 30% of the nation’s oil supply
☆ 2nd in the primary production of petrochemicals
☆ Habitat for migratory waterfowl
☆ Largest producer of shrimp and oysters; home to 25% of all U.S. seafood caught

Barrier islands, estuaries, and wetlands help sustain cultures, produce economically important industry, fisheries and wildlife habitat. But coastal communities, especially throughout Southeast Louisiana, are extremely vulnerable due to historical neglect, recent oil spills, storm surge and sea level rise. Regrettably, the deltaic ecosystem is experiencing the highest rate of land loss in the United States. Louisiana looses an area of wetlands the size of a football field every hour. As steadfast leaders in the movement to Prepare America, the Gulf Coast and New Orleans – THF recognizes that coastal restoration is vital to flood mitigation and hurricane protection. Scientific studies also indicate that vibrant wetlands can reduce storm surge up to three to nine inches.

Therefore, we work to accomplish 5 goals:

Increase public awareness about the need for coastal restoration.
Empower, inspire and educate youth – creating Wetland Warriors.
Advocate for long-term governmental investment from local and federal officials.
Provide job resources in the safety (disaster management) and sustainability (coastal conservation) sector.
☆ Promote energy-efficient lifestyles.

Stronger hurricanes threaten jobs, cultural heritage and coastal ecosystems. In concert with organizations like the National Wildlife Federation, we also actively advocate for the restoration of a healthy gulf – to preserve this land and cultural history for future generations. The THF Coastal Restoration Campaign is led by Bike Katrina. Biennially, since 2007, we have organized a 250-mile bike ride from Pensacola, Florida to New Orleans. This journey takes place during the last five days of August and affords us an opportunity, through regional partnerships, to galvanize Gulf-wide support for coastal restoration from schools, churches, business and civic associations.

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