EPA Awards Over $285,000 to CRCL to Help Restore Louisiana Coastal Habitat

CRCL was recently awarded $285,000 in EPA grants to help restore swamp forest habitat in the Central Wetlands Unit in the Lower Ninth Ward and along Lake Maurepas near New Orleans.

The areas where tree plantings will occur have experienced severe challenges since the 1930s when the cypress forests of the Maurepas land bridge were overlogged. Construction of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) severely degraded the hydrology of the Central Wetlands Unit, an area historically composed of bottomland hardwood forest and cypress-tupelo swamps. Closing of the MRGO in 2009 restored historic salinity levels in these areas, making them ripe for restoration.

CRCL began working with the Lake Ponchartrain Basin Foundation in 2016 to identify areas where tree plantings could occur. Since 2016, CRCL has worked with volunteers to plant 30,000 trees in coastal swamp areas.

These grants will enable CRCL to expand its work in this important arena. We expect to engage approximately 300 volunteers in planting more than 5000 native bottomland hardwood forest trees to restore at least 25 acres of coastal swamp forest.

“Protecting and restoring our coast is critical to Louisiana’s future, our economy, our way of life, and our ability to be protected from future storms. In the Trump Administration, our state has an ally that understands the urgency of this need, and I’m pleased that they have partnered with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana to help rebuild roughly 25 acres of our coastal wetlands,” said House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA-01). “While there is much more work to be done, this grant is an important step in fighting back against the coastal erosion that takes more than a football field of land from Louisiana each hour. I will never stop fighting to restore Louisiana’s coast.”

“CRCL is a steadfast partner in Louisiana’s coastal efforts whose use of this grant will, importantly, help engage the ever-growing number of our citizens wanting to be more involved in the fight to restore our coast and protect communities,” said Rep. Garret Graves (LA-06). These funds will be leveraged along with other resources and volunteers to help plant thousands of trees, strengthen our natural hurricane defenses and restore critical habitat along our coast.”

“We are excited to continue our work in these critically important ecosystems. This grant will enable CRCL to reach new community members to showcase the restoration occurring in their own backyards. Coastal forests are a critical line of defense in protecting Louisiana’s coastal communities and we are excited to engage volunteers to help us do this important work,” said Kimberly Davis Reyher, Executive Director of CRCL.

If you are interested in getting involved in helping us plant trees, keep a look out for volunteer opportunities to open in October 2018.

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