America’s WETLAND Placards Signal Louisiana’s Commitment to Protecting Vital Region

SLIDELL, LA – The Louisiana Department of Transportation has added a welcome sign to America’s WETLAND along highways at Louisiana borders. The signage represents the State’s continuing commitment to protecting and restoring coastal Louisiana.

Elizabeth McNulty of Lafayette, Miss Louisiana USA 2007, will work with the America’s WETLAND Foundation to raise awareness of the enormous impact Louisiana’s coastal wetland loss has on Louisiana, the nation, and the world. Miss Louisiana USA’s photo op with one of the newly added highway signs is the first of Miss Louisiana USA’s many efforts to promote wetland conservation. Miss Louisiana USA will also join the America’s WETLAND Conservation Corps to help with plantings and wetlands restoration work.”

“I hope that others throughout Louisiana and in the Gulf Coast region will follow my lead to help spread the word that wetland loss is a serious issue for our state,” McNulty said. “I look forward to making a difference for this cause by participating in various projects, but especially by getting my hands dirty with the hands-on restoration initiatives of the America’s WETLAND Conservation Corps.

As a representative of Louisiana citizens, Miss Louisiana USA’s commitment to America’s WETLAND highlights the importance of protecting the coastal wetlands that sustain the river system, its traditions and heritage, and the unique culture of Louisiana. The signs are located at these Louisiana Borders: – I-10 East bound and West Bound (from TX and MS) – I-20 East Bound and West Bound (from TX and MS) – I-55 Eastbound only – I-59 Eastbound only

Everything from economic infrastructure, to ecosystem values, to the cultural heritage that defines the personality of Louisiana, is affected by the health of the wetlands in Louisiana. Annually, as many as 10 million ducks, geese and other birds migrate south through the Mississippi and Central flyways to spend the winter along the Louisiana coast and other points south. However, this critical habitat is disappearing at the alarming rate of a football field every 38 minutes, threatening not only waterfowl populations but also more than 70 rare threatened and endangered species that live there.

The devastation left in the wakes of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 resulted in economic and energy disruptions throughout the Mississippi River region. The continuing disappearance of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, which act as a natural buffer to the forces of storms and hurricanes is directly tied to America’s economic and energy future as well as commercial and conservation interests along the Mississippi River.

The America’s WETLAND Conservation Corps (AWCC) is a partnership between the America’s WETLAND Campaign and the LSU AgCenter. The AWCC is supported by a grant from AmeriCorps and is administered by the Louisiana Serve Commission in the Office of Lt. Governor Mitchell J. Landrieu. The AWCC builds community pride and environmental awareness through volunteerism and education. It also supports collaborative efforts to organize and engage participants in a variety of activities with the message of both responsible stewardship and a call for action to save coastal Louisiana. AWCC members coordinate hands-on coastal restoration projects that include vegetative planting, restorative interventions, and community-wide clean-ups for volunteers and the communities they serve, in order to promote stewardship and conservation.