July 2016 Newsletter

Support for 2017 Coastal Master Plan
The America’s WETLAND Foundation is working with state agencies and the Edwards Administration to help inform the master planning efforts to create a path forward on restoration and protection . With Louisiana’s 2017 Coastal Master Plan pending legislative approval, public awareness and consensus building is necessary to address the important and often contentious issues that can either move restoration forward or delay it. AWF is working to bring together local, state, and national leaders in a series of balanced, high level stakeholder discussions to address the tough issues, find common ground, and move forward public and political will on issues that can inhibit progress of the Coastal Master Plan. Stay tuned for additional information on this important effort.

Update on Shoreline Stabilization Project
Gulf Intracoastal Shoreline Restoration and Stabilization Project was completed in December 2015, securing one mile of embankment with Vegetated EcoShield . The stabilized berm is now providing ecosystem services of a healthy and productive natural environment by creating vital feeding, nesting, and roosting habitat for shorebirds, migratory birds and waterfowl. The project was designed to prove that shoreline creep and erosion could be abated in a cost effective and time efficient manner. Six months following the project’s completion , the unprotected shoreline showed erosion losses of more than 10 feet.

This project is proving that nature-based solutions can be effective for risk reduction at a fraction of the cost and time to complete projects that have historically been supported by government, be it local, state of federal. Cost-effective solutions for current and future risk to better integrate natural habitats and defenses as restoration tools hold great promise.

Lake Salvador Shoreline Restoration Project
The Foundation is developing specifications for a Lake Salvador shoreline stabilization and restoration project that builds on the success of the Waterway project and willrestore three miles of shoreline (1.5 miles of GIWW shoreline and 1.5 miles of the lake shoreline) adjacent to the location of the original project. It will secure and protect a narrow and eroding strip of land that , if breached , would result in significant salt-water intrusion into the lake and fresh water marshes. The project is in keeping with AWF’s development of transitional projects that may not be prioritized in the State’s coastal master plan, but important to the demonstration of effective strategies and innovative technologies that may be employed through public-private partnerships in the future.

Both traditional and innovative technology will be used in the form of low-cost bucket dredging and the use of some type of vegetated matrix to protect the land from eroding. By creating a “living shoreline ,” the matrix and the plants will protect and fortify the embankment while building habitat for wildlife, waterfowl and aquatic life.

Advocating for Private Investment in Coastal Restoration
The America’s WETLAND Foundation commends Resource Environmental Solutions on its partnership with a multinational private equity firm that made a significant investment in the company to support its next phase next phase of development, furthering private participation in coastal restoration in Louisiana.

RES supplied the plants for the Foundation’s shoreline stabilization and restoration project along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

Protecting Coastal Funds
The America’s WETLAND Foundation issued a statement in June that lauded Governor John BelEdwards and the Louisiana State Senate Finance committee for ensuring that coastal restoration dollars would not be siphoned off by other agencies and would remain within the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities. The statement read, in part, “Politics vs. process is a dangerous game to play, especially when it comes to how the BP dollars are spent. Any hint that those dollars are being sidelined from coastal restoration cannot be tolerated.”

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