Hot on the heels of President Obama's signing the Transportation Package and passing the precedent-setting RESTORE Act, Ducks Unlimited officials joined U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (LA) for a coastal parish tour to celebrate the promise RESTORE Act funding holds for coastal restoration.
"Coupled with the roadmap for restoration provided by the recently revised Coastal Master Plan, RESTORE Act funding is a critical step toward delivering coastal restoration on a meaningful scale," said DU Director of Conservation Programs Jerry Holden.
Ducks Unlimited has been lobbying Congress and the presidential administration to ensure that Clean Water Act penalties paid by the parties responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster are directed to restoration of the areas impacted by the 2010 oil spill. DU volunteers and staff were honored to join Sen. Landrieu for the celebration at the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge near Bell City, La.
"Ducks can't vote, and they can't voice their appreciation for RESTORE, so I am here on their behalf and on behalf of more than 1 million members and supporters of Ducks Unlimited across the country to say thank you for your leadership in ensuring the necessary funding for vital efforts to restore coastal Louisiana," Holden told the senator.
Cameron Prairie was a perfect venue to discuss the importance of coastal Louisiana for waterfowl and waterfowl hunters, as DU has worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to improve waterfowl habitat and youth hunting opportunities on the refuge.
Because the coastal marshes and prairies of Louisiana comprise the heart of the single most important habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl in North America, and provide year-round habitat for the vast majority of the world's mottled duck population, coastal Louisiana is a top habitat conservation priority for Ducks Unlimited.
"Coastal Louisiana supports millions of wintering waterfowl, yet we continue to lose this critical area. Ninety percent of coastal marsh loss in the lower 48 states occurs right here in coastal Louisiana," said Bob Dew, DU manager of conservation programs for Louisiana. "As such, we thank Senator Landrieu for her role in bringing funding to bear that's commensurate with the crisis."