After releasing a draft strategy several months ago, the Environmental Protection Agency recently unveiled a final comprehensive plan that addresses the long-standing issues contributing to the deterioration of Gulf ecosystems
. This final strategy was developed after holding more than 40 public meetings throughout the Gulf Coast region
and gathering comments from various organizations, including Ducks Unlimited.
This restoration plan is the first of its kind to be developed for the Gulf Coast with the full collaboration of federal and state agencies, businesses, organizations and thousands of concerned citizens from across the region. By taking into account these comments, the Gulf Coast Task Force will now be able to properly address the staggering wetlands loss occurring in the Gulf Coast region.
One key partner of the Gulf Coast Task Force is the U.S. Department of the Interior, which manages more than four million acres of land in the Gulf Coast region. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar stated in a recent press release that he believes that this strategy is "a major step forward toward meaningful restoration that will benefit the natural resources of the Gulf Coast for generations to come."
The Gulf Coast, commonly referred to as sportsman's paradise, provides crucial habitat for waterfowl. Millions of duck and geese winter here each year, making the Gulf Coast a top destination for waterfowl hunters
. In Louisiana
alone, 678,000 hunters and anglers spend $4.5 million a day pursuing their outdoor interests.
"The Gulf Coast ecosystem restoration strategic plan has elements that will help guide coastal wetland restoration to conserve waterfowl habitat
in this region," said DU Director of Public Policy
Barton James. "Not only will the plan help guide coastal wetland restoration, but it also will have positive effects on our nation's economy. The problems facing Gulf Coast wetlands are truly national in scale and reach—they are not just local or regional issues."