By Elizabeth Skree, Environmental Defense Fund
Welcome to the new home of Delta Dispatches!
Today, five national and local conservation organizations launched www.MississippiRiverDelta.org, a new site focused on efforts to restore and revitalize one of America’s greatest natural resources: the Mississippi River Delta. Here, visitors can find scientific information about the delta, public policy analysis, cultural and historical summaries, as well as Delta Dispatches: a news blog about restoration efforts in the delta.
“MississippiRiverDelta.org is a one-stop shop for news, analysis and solutions for delta restoration,” said Kevin Chandler, communications coordinator for the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign. “You’ll want to subscribe to our news feed, Delta Dispatches, and come back to the site often!”
Visitors to the site will find background information on how the delta was formed, the wildlife and people who live there, and what caused the delta to collapse (Discover the Delta); the delta’s importance to America’s economy, seafood production and the people who call the area home (America Needs the Delta); efforts to restore the delta using sound science and public policy (Restore the Delta); the Delta Dispatches blog and current news; a Media Room and information about our campaign (About); as well as an action center where visitors can find out how they can help restore the Mississippi River Delta (Take Action).
The campaign and site are a collaborative effort by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Environmental Defense Fund, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, National Audubon Society and National Wildlife Federation.
More information about the site and campaign:
The Mississippi River Delta contributes tens of billions of dollars to the U.S. economy every year and supports millions of jobs. The delta sustains:
- Commercial trade routes that connect America’s heartland to the rest of the world, critical and extensive energy infrastructure, and fisheries that produce 25 percent of American seafood, all valued at hundreds of billions of dollars. Read more about the economics of the delta.
- Wildlife habitat for hundreds of species including endangered mammals and reptiles, commercially important seafood species, migratory waterfowl and other birds from across the hemisphere.
- Jobs and ways of life for approximately 2 million people living in or near the delta, including fishermen, boat captains and restaurant owners.
But on average, Louisiana loses one football field of land every hour, amounting to more than 16.5 square miles of land lost per year, mainly due to the leveeing and channelization of the Mississippi River and the construction of thousands of miles of channels and canals through the delta’s fragile wetlands. Ninety percent of the total coastal wetland loss in the lower 48 states occurs in the state. Louisiana is also dealing with ongoing disaster recovery from the BP oil disaster.
“Science tells us that we can begin reversing the delta’s land loss to protect and restore natural resources that sustain critical shipping and energy infrastructure, millions of jobs and globally important wildlife habitat,” Chandler concluded. “MississippiRiverDelta.org tells that story and will fast become a resource for anyone with an interest in delta restoration.”