Sportsmen Call for Governor to Restore Louisiana Coast

In January, the National Wildlife Federation’s Vanishing Paradise program, joined by 124 outdoor businesses and groups, sent a letter to new Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards asking that he stand firm on his commitments to restore the state’s disappearing coastline.

Along Louisiana’s coast, we have already lost an area of land the size of the state of Delaware. Photo by Joel Lucks

The letter was authored by Vanishing Paradise, a program of the National Wildlife Federation working with hunters and anglers to advocate for restoring the Mississippi River Delta. Specifically, the groups called for Governor Edwards to continue momentum advancing the 2012 Coastal Master Plan process. They also asked that the governor ensure that fines from the 2010 Gulf oil disaster are spent on a range of effective, science-based restoration solutions that will build and sustain coastal wetlands.

Reminding the governor of the scale, urgency and importance of restoring Louisiana’s coast, the groups’ letter said, “Every hour, an area of land the size of a football field vanishes from the coast of Louisiana.…Vanishing Paradise and our partners stand ready to support your administration’s efforts to secure a future for coastal Louisiana. We will work with you to ensure healthy habitat and a strong ecological and economic future for the people who live and recreate on our coast. We must save this special place for future generations to enjoy. If we do nothing, we will lose our Sportsman’s Paradise.”

Wildlife rely on Louisiana’s coast for prime habitat and resources. Photo by Joel Lucks

The letter highlights that restoring this great natural resource is critical to sportsmen and outdoor recreation interests throughout Louisiana. Restoration will help generate revenue for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, fishing and hunting guides, marinas, hotels, lodges, gas stations, grocery stores, tackle shops, restaurants, boat dealerships, and more.

Steve Bender, director of Vanishing Paradise, issued the following statement on the letter:

We must protect the rest of Louisiana’s coast and restore it for all who live along, work on or enjoy the area. Photo by Steve Bender

“True restoration of Louisiana’s coast is of vital importance to sportsmen and women. Hunters and anglers – including the 124 signers who joined us on this letter – rely on our healthy natural resources for commercial and recreational purposes.”

The current and best-available science shows us that to have any chance of rebuilding our rapidly disappearing delta, we must use the full suite of restoration solutions available. Different types of projects working together will maximize the benefits to fish and wildlife habitat. A variety of projects are necessary to build and sustain land, including sediment diversions, marsh creation, barrier island and headland reconstruction, ridge restoration, shoreline protection and hydrological restoration.

Rebecca Triche, executive director of state affiliate the Louisiana Wildlife Federation added, “As our letter today states, we ask Governor Edwards to please make sure that real restoration moves forward. Louisiana’s sportsmen and women stand ready to help save this special region for future generations to enjoy. If we don’t act now, we will lose our Sportsman’s Paradise.”

The entire text of the letter can be found at www.vanishingparadise.org.

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