AWF’s GIWW Restoration Project Stands the Test of Time
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.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.

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