By Amanda R. Moore, Deputy Director for the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program
Save our Wetlands – not a phrase you’d expect to find etched into a picnic table at a popular bar. But this is New Orleans. The spot where I sat was under eight feet of water a little less than nine years ago.
As we move into hurricane season, we can do something beyond tabletop carvings or bumper stickers to support our coast. While I love these sentiments, I hope you will send a message to decision-makers to support coastal restoration projects that will sustain and protect our communities in the Greater New Orleans area for generations to come.
We’re losing our Louisiana coastline at rate of one football field every hour. You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. Every tourist doing a swamp tour has heard it. This is an alarming statistic because every hour, we lose critical protection. Wetlands are a natural buffer from storm surge. Without them, communities are more vulnerable to storms and our livelihoods, tied to the coast, are increasingly at risk. The good news is the Mississippi River built our delta and the river can be put back to work to restore it.
This is a pivotal moment for our coast and the state has a comprehensive plan for restoration that utilizes the river and many other restoration and protection tools. But the plan is in need of funding. The RESTORE Act, which will bring billions of dollars to the Gulf for restoration, can jumpstart implementation of the state’s plan. That plan includes several projects within and surrounding New Orleans.
Your voice is needed. In these first days of the 2014 hurricane season, send a message to federal and state officials to let them know our wetland protection is critical and restoration is urgently needed. These decision-makers are now determining how to spend RESTORE Act dollars. Speak up today to help ensure that funds are spent toward large-scale, sustainable, protective restoration projects that our coast and communities so badly need.