CRCL planning coastal volunteer events to mark 2020 anniversaries
Next year, Louisiana will mark the anniversaries of three events that devastated our state. In 2005, more than 1,800 people were killed in Hurricane Katrina alone, and untold thousands of others experienced great suffering. More than 120 people lost their lives in Rita later that year. In a 2010 oil rig explosion and ecological catastrophe that ensued, 11 workers were killed, and the environmental and economic consequences and health concerns rippled across the Gulf Coast for years to come.
At the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, it is with sorrow and sympathy that we observe the human cost of these tragedies. But the residents of this state have shown extraordinary resilience – strengthening our communities and moving forward to make a better tomorrow for ourselves and for future generations. It is in that spirit that we have planned a series of events in 2020 to commemorate the 15th anniversaries of Katrina and Rita and the 10th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster:
In the spring of next year, coinciding roughly with the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, CRCL will work with a contractor to build our third oyster reef, this one in Barataria Bay, where marsh grasses were soaked with oil in the weeks and months after the 2010 spill. This reef will be constructed from shell recycled from New Orleans restaurants.
We also plan to work in the spring in Bayou Bonfouca near Slidell, engaging with volunteers to plant grasses in marsh that was washed away in Katrina – and rebuilt in a state dredging project several years ago.
In the fall of 2020, 15 years after Katrina and Rita caused devastation from one side of the state to the other, we’ll build an oyster reef with our dedicated army of volunteers in Plaquemines Parish to help both create fringing oyster habitat and protect an ancient mound that is a flagship local cultural heritage site.
In Cameron Parish, which took the brunt of the damage from Rita in 2005, we’ll plant grasses in the fall in the dunes along the coast, helping to anchor the beach that stands between the Gulf of Mexico and a region that is booming with energy infrastructure.
We welcome the engagement of our partners in these events. These opportunities are ideal for groups and individuals looking to personally get involved in coastal restoration and to connect with others.
Also in the spring of 2020, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana will hold its annual Stewardship Awards Banquet, honoring those who have contributed to the restoration and preservation of Louisiana’s coast. And in May, CRCL will host its biennial State of the Coast conference at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, bringing together about 1,300 public officials, scientists, landowners, federal and state agency personnel, industry and business leaders, and private citizens, in partnership with the Water Institute of the Gulf and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana. Much of the conference is expected to focus on the anniversaries of Katrina, Rita, and the Deepwater Horizon disaster. And another anniversary will also be marked at State of the Coast: the 30th birthday of the Coastal Wetlands, Planning, Protection and Restoration Act.
Join CRCL in 2020 to help our coast and communities. The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana relies on volunteers and donors to make possible our work to protect our state. You can join our cause on our website, crcl.org; sign up for volunteer events on our EventBrite page; follow us on social media, or text COAST to 44321 to donate.
CRCL is a non-partisan, non-profit organization driving bold, science-based action to restore coastal Louisiana through outreach, restoration, and advocacy. CRCL was founded in 1988 and is the state’s oldest and most comprehensive coastal restoration organization. Visit crcl.org.