December 2019 Newsletter

COASTAL COMMUNITIES RISING WITH THE TIDE

As the America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) moves to create a Louisiana/Florida axis for addressing sea level rise challenges with the Sea Safe Community Certification (SSCC) program, Val Marmillion, AWF’s managing director, is authoring monthly items similar to an article that was featured in a recent edition of Keys Weekly, entitled “The Keys Can Rise with the Tide.”

Along with programs being announced in Louisiana, the article offers hope to South Florida residents facing the everyday effects of rising seas. The news item follows an opinion piece that ran in the Fort Lauderdale South Florida Sun-Sentinel and another opinion piece from the Baton Rouge Advocate.

All of these editorial items focus on the threat of retreat from coastal areas, raising the opportunity to meet the challenge with advanced technology and innovation to form a new normal that will create more resilient communities. Alternate solutions arise when communities learn to adapt to a “new normal” by living with water and building with nature, concepts that may require new solutions and formulas for sustaining coastal communities and environments.

AWF has developed the new program to address news of sea level disrupting local economies. Such is the case when personal savings in home ownership and equity are threatened by new projections, including new FEMA flood zone maps in the process of being released. If communities reach a tipping point of home valuation, what will follow is a reduction in the tax base which will impact local government’s capacity to provide basic services.

CAMERON PARISH, LA, AND KEY WEST, FL, EXPRESS INTEREST IN INNOVATION MODELING FOR COASTAL ADAPTATION

Louisiana and Florida communities have agreed to be considered as demonstration sites for the initial phases of Sea Safe Community Certification (SSCC) program to establish innovation in environmental design and concepts of living with water and building with nature. Cameron Parish, LA and, Key West FL have requested consideration to be a demonstration community of innovation with AWF’s new SSCC initiative. The program was announced in a recent online webinar featuring Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Director, Chip Kline. The announcement was followed by a gathering of coastal leaders in Cameron Parish last month, where the community was cited as a model for adaptation to the new normal of sea level rise and as an anchor community on the Gulf Coast for communities vulnerable to the rising tide. During a roundtable discussion that included elected officials, coastal experts, and industry representatives, the participants drilled down on how to keep home values up and negative stigma down in areas at high risk of sea level rise and other climate impacts.

NICHOLLS STATE UNIVERSITY TO HOST AWF COASTAL COMMUNITY ADAPTATION ROUNDTABLE

Join us on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, at the Coastal Community Adaptation Roundtable held at Nicholls State University. Nine years ago, the Foundation hosted Blue Ribbon Resilient Communities Leadership Forums throughout the Gulf Coast and one of the forums focused on Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes. Its purpose was to consider new data from a multi-million-dollar Entergy study that cited by zip codes, coastal infrastructure vulnerabilities. This forum will explore possibilities for coastal communities to be a part of the Sea Safe Community Certification program and steps needed to adapt to sea level rise and other impacts of climate change by moving from resiliency planning to adaptation actions key to sustaining future economies and environments and cultures. To register to attend, click here.

AWF’S TERREBONNE PROJECTS HIGHLIGHTED IN SUSTAINABILITY CASE STUDY

The America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) Terrebonne Biodiversity and Resiliency projects at Bayou Terrebonne and Pointe-Aux-Chenes were highlighted as a sustainability case study by international energy company, BHP. AWF worked alongside RES to re-forest degraded cypress swamps, including building marsh terraces to protect local levees from future storm surges. Together the two projects represent a private sector investment of $3.4 million that restored 150 acres of wetlands with an annual economic value of $1.2 million and other yearly benefits including 280 tons of carbon sequestered, the elimination of up to 266 pounds of phosphorus and 10,600 pounds of nitrogen to improve water quality in lower Terrebonne Parish. Read more about the projects here.

GIVE THE GIFT OF AMERICA’S WETLAND

During this holiday season, give the gift of America’s WETLAND. You’ll be helping to save one of the nation’s most valuable assets so future generations can continue to benefit from this incredibly productive but fragile coastal area and all that is rooted here – culturally, environmentally, and economically:

Membership: Join the America’s WETLAND Foundation Home Team on our website and become a member today! With your online donation, you will become a vital partner in the Foundation’s public education efforts, habitat restoration projects and our roster of successful grassroots initiatives to save the coast for future generations. You can also give the gift of a membership to loved ones!
Amazon Smile: Shop for everyone on your gift list this holiday at smile.amazon.com/ch/30-0192739 and when you do, Amazon donates to America’s WETLAND Foundation.
Text to Give: Text WETLAND to 20222 to give $10.00. A one-time donation of $10.00 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. All donations must be authorized by the account holder.
Purchase an America’s WETLAND Foundation License Plate: Order your own America’s WETLAND Foundation license plate today! Call (225) 925-6371 for more information or visit the Louisiana Special Plates site and look under Special Interest to find the AWF plate.

AMERICA’S WETLAND FLAG FLIES ATOP BONFIRE PREPARATION AT LAURA PLANTATION

Bonfires are a truly unique holiday tradition along the great River Road. On Christmas Eve on earthen levees that contain the Mississippi River, dozens of 20-foot-high pyramids of burning logs will be lit. It’s a local celebration akin to football tailgating, a practice that has continued for generations in lighting the way for “Papa Noel”.

Laura Plantation is a restored historic Louisiana Creole plantation on the west bank of the Mississippi River near Vacherie, Louisiana. Formerly known as Duparc Plantation, it is significant for its early 19th-century Créole-style raised big house and several surviving outbuildings, including two slave cabins. It is one of the plantation complexes in Louisiana with this number of complete structures. Because of its historical importance, the plantation is on the National Register of Historic Places and is included on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.
THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD AND THE STAFF OF THE AMERICA’S WETLAND FOUNDATION WISH YOU ALL A MOST MEANINGFUL AND SPECIAL HOLIDAY SEASON AND A NEW YEAR FILLED WITH PEACE, PROSPERITY AND JOY!
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