April 2019 Newsletter

On Earth Day, AWF Celebrates the Importance of Wetlands

Two restoration efforts restore 150 acres of vital wetlands
One year ago, the America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF), Resource Environmental Solutions (RES), and global energy producer, BHP, stood where stands of bald cypress once gave definition to swamps of the lower Mississippi Delta and announced their partnership to restore vital wetlands in Terrebonne Parish.Today, just in time for Earth Day, the partners are proud to announce the completion of two restoration projects – The Terrebonne Biodiversity and Resiliency Projects at Pointe-aux-Chenes & Bayou Terrebonne. Together, the two projects represent a private sector investment of $3.4 million dollars that restored 150 acres of wetlands with a annual economic value of $1.2 million and other yearly benefits including, 280 tons of carbon sequestered, the elimination of up to 266 pounds of phosphorus and 10,600 pounds of nitrogen to improve water quality in lower Terrebonne Parish.  Read more here…

To Our Volunteers: Thank You for Helping to Save Our Coast

More than 160 volunteers gathered on February 9, 2019 where a forest of bald cypress once stood protecting Terrebonne Parish from storm surge and they did their best to restore that forest and increase the protection for their community.
The energetic volunteers planted 2,000 Bald Cypress trees, adding to the 28,000 trees that had been recently planted on the site to reconstitute 100 acres of an historic wetland forest. The event brought out the best in people and provided a ray of hope in the battle against the rising tide in South Louisiana. Read more here…
List your Coastal Project on the Louisiana Coastal Exchange
AWF recently announced a new resource to help recognize work by private NGOs, foundations and private sponsors to help meet the challenges faced in Louisiana by coastal erosion and land loss. The Louisiana Coastal Exchange (LCX) is an online inventory and reporting of privately funded coastal restoration projects that have been completed or are planned and available for investment.
The LCX offers a couple of ways to promote these restoration efforts – first it provides a unique opportunity for parishes and NGOs to offer projects for private funding that may not be prioritized in the state’s master plan but are consistent with it, even complementary to the plan, and can hold the line against coastal land loss as larger state and parish efforts are accomplished.
Secondly, it creates an inventory of coastal restoration projects that have been completed through private funding over the past decade. This catalogue of completed projects will be important to communities throughout coastal Louisiana. The citizens of our state have clearly said through past polling of Louisiana voters that they expect us all to work together to get the job done but they are unsure as to the extent of private sector participation in restoring our coast.
To list projects on the LCX, simply go to americaswetland.com/LCX and fill out the simple form.
A Look Back – Wetlands, Tiger Stadium, Superdome and the Saints – Fighting Adversity One Football Field at a Time 
As the sun set on Tiger Stadium in the fall of 2003, Louisiana’s Governor, state legislator s and local officials, leaders of industry, coastal communities and the non-profit sector gathered to build their case for saving coastal Louisiana. Called by the America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) to view the Jumbotron screens, the football field was soon submerged in water and the overlaid words read: “LOUISIANA LOSES A FOOTBALL FIELD OF LAND EVERY 50 MINUTES TO COASTAL EROSION.” The simple message became a rallying cry and through the years millions of people have been astounded by the reality tied to a simple image.
Perhaps prophetic, the Foundation in June, 2005, building on the football field metaphor, created a dramatization in the New Orleans French Quarter wrapping blue tarp up to nine feet on wrought iron balconies and proclaiming that we needed to stop the dramatic land loss or water might engulf the Crescent City. August 23, 2005, Katrina brought some nine feet of water into low-lying neighborhoods and blue tarp was seen atop housetops citywide. The Superdome became the eerie symbol of devastation as thousands sought refuge in the stadium.
 

At the opening of the 2006 hurricane season and fresh from Katrina wounds and needs, AWF and Women of the Storm (WOS) gathered on the once submerged New Orleans City Park Tad Gormley Stadium turf, forming a giant human U.S. map of states showing the lack of support at that time from Congress for recovery and wetland restoration. The stunning images of youth bands and student groups made headlines and served as a basis for future WOS visits to lobby Congress for needed assistance for the Crescent City. Read more

AWF Applauds BHP for Grant to Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities to Benefit Plaquemines, Terrebonne, and Lafourche Parishes
The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) has received a $475,000 grant for its Coastal Impacts project from BHP Billiton, a mining and petroleum company that supports projects focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The three-year initiative, which will be administered in partnership with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and the Smithsonian Institution, will bring award-winning humanities-based programming about coastal issues to communities across the state with a special focus on Plaquemines, Terrebonne, and Lafourche Parishes. By engaging residents in a multi-generational dialogue about the future of coastal Louisiana, the LEH seeks to empower citizens to be part of the ongoing decision-making process that impacts their communities. Read more here…
New Orleans Town Gardeners Organization offers Graduate Scholarship
The New Orleans Town Gardeners invites graduate students to apply for its annual scholarship to support local research on vegetative aspects of coastal land and restoration.
The scholarship is available to any currently enrolled graduate student and includes a grant of $1500 which may be used for research supplies, field research logistics, or other costs related to the student’s research. The recipient may be asked to briefly present his or her research at a regular meeting of the Garden Club.
Applications for the grant should include:
  • Cover Letter
  • Description of proposed research including how the funds will be used to support the research (no more than two pages)
  • Curriculum Vitae (no more than two pages)
  • Names, phone numbers and addresses of two academic references.
Deadline: May 1, 2019
Please email all applications to:
Chrisie Kelleher: christinekelleher1@cox.net
Recipient will be notified by June 1, 2019 and awarded scholarship funds July 1, 2019.
In the News
In case you missed it, below is a compilation of some of the most interesting news stories.
New York Times Magazine
April 11, 2019
Standing sometimes waist-deep in seawater on the shores of the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh, they work to find bricks, dig them out of the sludge and cart them to the side of the road to sell. The job is new, a result of devastating storm surges a little more than a decade ago. In 2007, and then again in 2009, cyclones battered the coastline just south of Kuakata, destroying homes and structures and drowning entire villages. The storms submerged forests of mangroves and left 99 local residents dead.
Scientific American
April 11, 2019
Sea level rise and ground subsidence will render the flood barriers inadequate in just four years
The $14 billion network of levees and floodwalls that was built to protect greater New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was a seemingly invincible bulwark against flooding.
But now, 11 months after the Army Corps of Engineers completed one of the largest public works projects in world history, the agency says the system will stop providing adequate protection in as little as four years because of rising sea levels and shrinking levees.
The growing vulnerability of the New Orleans area is forcing the Army Corps to begin assessing repair work, including raising hundreds of miles of levees and floodwalls that form a meandering earth and concrete fortress around the city and its adjacent suburbs.
The New Yorker
April 1, 2019
The New Orleans Lakefront Airport was built by the Louisiana governor Huey P. Long on a tongue of fill that sticks out into Lake Pontchartrain. Its terminal was designed by the same architect Long had used to build a new Louisiana state capitol and a new governor’s mansion, and it was originally named for one of Long’s cronies, Abraham Shushan. Within 18 months of the airport’s opening in 1934 Shushan had been indicted for money laundering and Long had been murdered. A few years later, the architect, too, went to prison.
To see the newsletter as published, click here…