December 2008 Newsletter

Breaux Honored with America’s WETLAND Lifetime Achievement Award

On December 1st, former U.S. Senator John Breaux was honored with the America’s WETLAND Lifetime Achievement Award at a reception on Capitol Hill. The award recognized Breaux for his significant contributions to wetland conservation over the past 30 years, including the Breaux Act. Since it’s inception in 1990, the Breaux act has contributed millions in federal funds annually to support more than 145 major projects for restoring and protecting many acres of coastal wetlands.

In presenting the award, the America’s WETLAND Foundation’s Chairman R. King Milling said, “We would not be standing here today if it were not for Senator John Breaux. He was the first person in Louisiana’s congressional delegation to not only recognize that coastal erosion was a grave problem, but to actually do something about it.”

The America’s WETLAND Lifetime Achievement Award is a distinct honor meant to recognize outstanding individuals that have and continue to make a significant impact on Louisiana’s costal restoration through their support, advocacy and volunteer activities

Leaders Press National Agenda to Save America’s Energy Coast

Through an unprecedented collaboration, government, industry and environmental leaders announced a national action agenda to ensure sustainability of America’s Energy Coast – including eliminating conflicting Federal policies and prioritizing spending on critical natural and manmade infrastructure — at a Policy Forum in Washington, DC on December 2nd.

The group adopted an Action Framework, which outlines immediate steps that must be taken to address major energy and environmental sustainability challenges in the region of our nation that produces 90 percent of our domestic offshore oil and gas – the Gulf states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

The America’s WETLAND Foundation was proud to partner with Duck’s Unlimited and the Center for Urban Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in presenting the Forum and a Capital Hill reception on December 1, 2008.

On December 4, 2008, R. King Milling, Chairman of the America’s WETLAND Foundation spoke about the impacts of environmental degradation on communities at a meeting of the River Partnership of Community Foundations held in New Orleans.

The River Partnership of Community Foundations is comprised of 19 community foundations on the Mississippi and its tributaries who share an interest in how the River contributes to the economic, cultural, and environmental vitality of their communities. The River Partnership is coordinated by the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities.

On November 20, 2008, Sidney Coffee, Senior Advisor to the America’s WETLAND Foundation was a featured speaker at the Carolina Beach, Inlet and Waterway Association’s annual conference in Carolina Beach, NC, and to the Offshore Oil Symposium in Morehead City, NC. She discussed the Foundation’s America Energy Coast initiative and its work to develop a sustainable Gulf coastal region and the economic activity that takes place there so critical to the nation. Her message was that it takes everyone at the table to ensure sustainability of the environment and energy and economic assets and the work being done in America’s Energy Coast could serve as a model for collaborative efforts needed as the entire nation considers energy development in the future.

America’s WETLAND Foundation Supports Coastal Roots

The America’s WETLAND Foundation is continuing its important work to combat coastal land loss in Louisiana as a proud sponsor of the Coastal Roots program. This program involves students from fourth grade through high school establishing nurseries in their schools backyard. The native plants grown in these nurseries will then be planted in a large coastal wetland restoration project this fall.

Estuarian Appearances

The superhero conservation action team, The Estuarians, had a busy month in their efforts to raise awareness of Louisiana’s rapidly eroding coast. The team stormed Louisiana Sea Grant College Program’s 11th annual Ocean Commotion on November 18, 2008. “It was a great event and I felt we were able to reach many eager students and teachers,” said Captain Eddy the bald eagle leader of the Estuarians.

On November 22nd the team was also dispatched to the Hurricane Preparedness Expo in Westwago, LA. The Estuarians joined America’s WETLAND staff handing out brochures, give-aways, and fact sheets at the AW booth. The event also supported the Second Harvesters Food Bank with a canned good or donation to the group being the price of admission.

Ducks Unlimited Leads the Way In Coastal Conservation

On December 8th, Governor Bobby Jindal announced his appointment of Ducks Unlimited, Inc.’s (DU) senior director of conservation, Ken Babcock to the Governors Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection. Babcock brings nearly 41 years of wildlife management experience to Jindal’s commission and is one of two members representing the conservation community. In addition to DU’s seat in the Advisory Commission, Don Young, the executive vice president of Ducks Unlimited based in Memphis is playing a role in shaping policies for America’s Energy Coast.

On December 2nd, Young participated in the America’s Energy Coast Policy Forum, sponsored by America’s WETLAND Foundation in Washington D.C. At the forum, Young was joined by a group of government, industry and environmental representatives who all worked together to identify conflicting coastal policies that obstruct coastal sustainability and restoration efforts. Following the forum, Young and others announced a national plan to prevent erosion and encourage oil-and-gas sustainability along Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama’ energy coast.