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Ducks Unlimited supports initial Gulf restoration strategy

WASHINGTON – Jan. 31, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited is pleased by the progress toward Gulf Coast ecosystem restoration represented in the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council’s newly released report, “The Path Forward to Restoring the Gulf Coast.” The report details the strategy for allocation of Gulf Coast restoration funds directed by the RESTORE Act.

“This is an encouraging step forward in the restoration of the Gulf Coast after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt said. “The Council’s initial plan indicates that these comprehensive steps will be as much about developing sustainable economic stimulation as about restoring natural resources.” 

The same coastal habitats that support millions of waterfowl and other migratory birds also protect and support diverse, culturally significant communities and key national industries like shipping and energy. Much of the regional economy is tied directly to the natural resources found along the Gulf Coast through recreational and commercial fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation. Thus, environmental restoration guided by the best science available will not only support the myriad wildlife and fisheries that depend on these coastal habitats, but will also ensure a strong economic future for the people of the Gulf Coast. 

“Louisiana loses an area of marsh the size of a football field every hour,” DU Director of Public Policy and co-lead of Vanishing Paradise Barton James said. “The Council’s plan is another milestone in large-scale coastal restoration policy.”

Potential funding provided by Clean Water Act penalties associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill range from $4 billion to $20 billion. Eighty percent of which will be directed by the RESTORE Act to the Gulf states impacted by the spill. The Council will manage 30 percent of that total for ecosystem restoration, plus 50 percent of the interest.

“With the potential of billions of dollars in funding, the Council has the opportunity to make meaningful strides in coastal restoration, particularly along the imperiled and impacted Louisiana and Texas coasts,” said DU Southern Region Director of Conservation Programs Jerry Holden.

The habitats along the Louisiana and Texas coasts represent the single-most important wintering grounds for waterfowl on the continent. Their restoration and protection are a top priority for Ducks Unlimited.

“Ducks Unlimited will continue to remain engaged in coastal restoration efforts. We look forward to the Council’s final plan later this year, and we are optimistic by what we’ve seen in their initial draft,” Schmidt said.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/DucksUnlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/DucksUnlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/DucksUnlimitedInc.

 Heather Stegner
(202) 347-1530

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