Executive Director’s Message
We continue to lose land at an alarming rate.
Still, this is an inspired time in Louisiana’s fight against coastal loss. As a State, and as a community, we are united by the urgency of the ecological crisis we face, and we’re making some progress.
Harnessing the Power of the River to Build Land – Scientists have proclaimed for many years that we need to reconnect the Mississippi River to its sediment-starved wetlands in order to restore them. We need to use the water and sediment in our river as a tool to sustain and rebuild what we’re losing. The State is moving forward with two large-scale sediment diversions, Mid-Breton and Mid-Barataria. For the first time, largely because of the availability of funds from the Deepwater Horizon spill, the State has the financial resources necessary to advance these projects. The state is working to break ground on these critical projects in 2020 or before. We urge the State and federal and local partners to do everything possible to meet – or beat - the 2020 deadline.
2017 State Coastal Master Plan – Our State’s Coastal Master Plan has served as a guide book for coastal restoration and protection since 2007. The plan enjoys wide support and is looked upon as a national model. We are quickly approaching the unveiling of the next update of the plan, the 2017 Master Plan. The draft plan will be released in January for formal comment and review, then voted upon by the Legislature in April 2017.
This plan is science-based and comprehensive and considers how multiple projects can work together synergistically on the landscape. This is critical because we need a variety of projects working together – including dredging and oyster reef projects as well as river diversion projects. We urge public attention to the plan in its draft form when it can still be shaped by public input, then swift passage by the Legislature in early 2017.
Leadership and Support at all levels will be Critical to Progress -- To this end, CRCL has been working to build support amongst leaders at all levels.
Governor’s Coastal Flight – One of the major aspects of CRCL’s mission is to advocate for bold, science-based action to rebuild our coast. This means communicating effectively with elected officials and decision makers at all levels. In Louisiana, there is no more important decision maker than Governor John Bel Edwards. In late October, we were able to take the Governor, several of his staff members and a bi-partisan legislative delegation on an overflight of Coastal Louisiana to show them firsthand just how dire our coastal land loss crisis is. According to Governor Edwards, this trip proved to be a truly eye-opening experience for him.
Congressional Staff Briefing -- CRCL, in partnership with Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition (MRD), the State of Louisiana, Restore or Retreat, GNO Inc., and the Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy, hosted seven Congressional staff members in Louisiana for two days in late August while the Congress was in recess. It was a bipartisan group, and the staff represented members of the US House and US Senate from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. They toured the Caernarvon freshwater diversion and the Fort St. Philip Marsh to learn about Louisiana’s land loss crisis and the opportunities sediment present to address it.
Leadership in the Senate – CRCL hosted the first-ever US Senate Coastal Issues Forum at LSU on Oct. 18. Five of the top candidates attended—Congressman Charles Boustany, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, Caroline Fayard, Congressman John Fleming and Colonel Rob Maness. While we had many diverse answers to tough coastal questions, all five agreed that harnessing the power of the river through sediment diversions is crucial to solving our coastal land loss crisis.
In this issue of Coast Currents, we celebrate the construction of our first oyster reef made from recycled oyster shell, we unveil our brand new Coastal Restoration Road Show series and our new Multiple Lines of Defense graphic. We revisit our ever-expanding Habitat Restoration Program, we explain the importance of what a healthy estuary is and its importance to a healthy Coastal Louisiana and meet some of our newest team members. We hope you find all of this informative.
I invite you to learn more about CRCL and become a member by visiting CRCL.org.
Your partner in this crucial mission,