Wine for the Wetlands
Restore the Mississippi River Delta
Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana is where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The parish (Louisiana’s version of a county) will lose 55% of its land due to a myriad of factors including canal digging, natural sinking, oil & gas extraction and levee construction that cut off land building sediment from the Mississippi to its delta. Then in 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and released 210 million gallons of oil over 87 days.
Fast forward eight years. There is a government plan for the $2 billion in settlements from the Deepwater Horizon / BP oil spill to be spent on large-scale coastal restoration projects in the area hardest hit by the oil spill. One of those projects is the Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion, an engineered channel that moves river water and sediment into the wetlands, mimicking the natural processes that built the delta. This method of reconnecting the river to the delta is critical to a sustainable future along Louisiana’s coast.
Sometimes its difficult for community members to stay on top of complicated governmental processes, Wine for the Wetlands is a lighthearted way to get folks more civically engaged on these issues while also having a good time. Fifty-eight members of the community came out to show support for coastal restoration. Those residents, from charter fishermen to the district attorney, showed their power and generated 38 public comments in favor of the plan for large-scale restoration in areas impacted by the oil spill, including constructing the Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion.
Bobby Thomas, the Executive Director of the Plaquemines Association of Business and Industry spoke in powerful terms about the importance of the reconnecting the river to the delta for the community and we also heard from Foster Creppel, innkeeper at Woodland Plantation Inn, about the healing power of reconnecting the river to its delta,
“… today I’m feeling more positive than I have in the past. We are all concerned citizens of the coast, it’s the reason we are all here this evening, we love our coast and want to protect and restore it.”
The National Wildlife Federation also signed up residents for field trips to show them firsthand the importance of restoring wetlands by using the power of the river. We hope those experiences will empower them with the confidence to speak to their friends and neighbors about this important work.