March 2018 Newsletter

AWF's GIWW Restoration Project Stands the Test of Time
AWF's Shoreline Restoration Project
In what may offer great promise for wetland restoration projects across the Gulf Coast, an assessment by AWF at the two-year mark of a project to secure the shoreline embankment along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) near LaRose, LA, provides a snapshot into future opportunities for private sector restoration of wetlands.
AWF recently hosted a media tour of for a visiting journalist from Climate Central to the GIWW site to support stories being developed about innovations in restoration. The project provides a clear path for private investment that makes good business sense, protecting environmental, community and economic assets with an expedited timeline and at an affordable cost. 

GIWW Project Tour for Climate Central News
The project -
a mile of protected shoreline - proves that the new solutions can work and replace costly hard structural options; almost two years following the project's completion, the difference between protected vs. unprotected shoreline is stark - with the unprotected shoreline eroding by more than 10 feet. Throughout 2017, monitoring of the GIWW project and adjustments made have been based on lessons learned, including the monitoring of hardier plant stocks that are more resistant to salt water intrusion, wave attenuation and climate changes.

AWF has focused on the canal and its importance to the economy and inland fresh water marshes and the results suggest that the project has great potential for replication along the GIWW from Texas to Florida.

AWF Presents at the Tulane Environmental Summit
On March 9, 2018 AWF hosted a panel entitled "Private Investment in Wetland Restoration" as part the Tulane's Environmental Law and Policy Summit.
Val Marmillion, Managing Director of the Foundation was joined by Jim Blackburn from Rice University, Chip Kline, Governor's Office of Coastal Activities and Rick Johnson from Entergy.  

The panel provided information on policy development, one company's approach to building sustainability and carbon offset programs as part of the continuum of programs and corporate culture, and a private sector initiative to kick start a carbon market as the Texas Environmental Exchange. Marmillion noted that these elements are excellent examples of programs AWF supports to encourage private sector solutions through restoration projects in the future.
As part of the discussion, the challenge of mixing environmental and economic interests was cited in light of recent moves by the New Orleans City Council to rezone and develop two parcels of port-owned marshland along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway for industrial use. "What this might suggest, is a lack of understanding for a shared sense of urgency to create wetlands that serve to protect communities.  We have to move to a place where business as usual is questioned and wetland restoration and development is prioritized" said Marmillion.

AWF has worked for years to encourage private landowners and companies to invest in coastal restoration, exploring practical avenues and incentives. On this topic, the Foundation has held leadership forums, meetings with industry leaders, and hosted a series of roundtables and summits on cooperation and collaboration among NGOs, industry and business, government agencies, communities and private landowners. 
The Foundation's polling research shows voters want the private sector to be more actively involved in sustaining wetlands and in coastal restoration.  

Upcoming Events
Coastal Day at the State Legislature
AWF will participant once again in Coastal Day at the State Legislature activities on April 3, at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge. In the morning session, AWF Senior Advisor Sidney Coffee will speak to private investment in coastal restoration with legislators, the Governor's Office of Coastal Activities and representatives of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. Coastal Day at the Legislature has been an excellent way of promoting both the progress and needs of restoration and to weigh in with lawmakers on the latest innovations and issues surrounding this dynamic effort.

In the News
From time to time the Foundation shares articles of interest.
To Cover Louisiana's Crises, The Times and Times-Picayune Team Up
Times Picayune
February 24, 2018
Just before the 2016 presidential election, Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times, gave an interview that touched on the fragile, financially stressed condition of local journalism. In the interview, Ken Doctor, an expert on the business of news, asked whether The Times "could improve the local press in the country."  Read more here ...
Left to Louisiana's Tides a Village Fights for Time
The New York Times
February 24, 2018
JEAN LAFITTE, La. - From a Cessna flying 4,000 feet above Louisiana's coast, what strikes you first is how much is already lost. Northward from the Gulf, slivers of barrier islands give way to the open water of Barataria Bay as it billows toward an inevitable merger with Little Lake, its name now a lie. Ever-widening bayous course through what were once dense wetlands, and a cross-stitch of oil field canals stamp the marsh like Chinese characters.  Read more here...

Fortified But Still in Peril, New Orleans Braces for It's Future
The New York Times
February 24, 2018
NEW ORLEANS - Burnell Cotlon lost everything in Hurricane Katrina - "just like everyone else," he said. When the flawed floodwall bordering his neighborhood here in the Lower Ninth Ward gave way in August 2005, the waters burst through with explosive force that pushed his home off its foundations and down the street. What was left: rubble, mud and mold.  Read more here...
Insects Feast on Louisiana Wetlands, Inviting the Gulf In
The New York Times
February 24, 2018
VENICE, La. - Louisiana's coast was already facing deadly threats: drowning from rising seas, beatings from hurricanes, poisoning from oil spills. Now it is being eaten alive. Read more here...

The America's WETLAND Foundation manages the largest, most comprehensive public education campaign in Louisiana's history, raising public awareness of the impact of Louisiana's wetland loss on the state, nation and world. The initiative is supported by a growing coalition of world, national and state conservation and environmental organizations and has drawn private support from businesses that see wetlands protection as a key to economic growth. The Foundation uses a variety of mediums to communicate with its supporters and the general public. Visit America's WETLAND on Facebook and follow us on Twitter  @AmericasWetland.