BATON ROUGE, La., May 8, 2006 – The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana honored Ducks Unlimited (DU) with its Coastal Stewardship Award for significant contributions to the preservation and restoration of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. The award was presented to DU at the Coalition’s awards banquet on Friday, May 5.
“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of Ducks Unlimited,” said former DU Louisiana State Chairman Mike Benge. “This recognizes our efforts to conserve wetlands in an area that impacts continental waterfowl populations and local people.”
Every year, the coalition presents stewardship awards to outstanding individuals or groups who have shown dedication to preserving the natural resources of coastal Louisiana. This year, the coalition recognized DU as one of the leaders in coastal conservation.
The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is a non-profit organization whose mission is the preservation, restoration and responsible stewardship of the coastal wetlands, waters and barrier shorelines of Louisiana. The coalition seeks to reverse the pattern of coastal wetland loss by facilitating and funding restoration activities. Education and outreach are tools used by the coalition to raise awareness about the importance of wetlands in coastal Louisiana.
DU’s wetland stewardship includes a recent commitment to protect or restore 52,000 acres along the Louisiana coast by 2008. As part of this commitment, DU will partner with local, state and federal governments and private organizations to form a united front for coastal wetland restoration.
“DU has pledged $15 million to the state of Louisiana for coastal marsh restoration,” said DU Director of Conservation Programs for Louisiana Jerry Holden. “We will be working hard to fulfill this promise and achieve our wetland and waterfowl habitat conservation goals along the coast.”
One coastal restoration project currently underway is the Lafitte Terracing Project. DU combined funds from several partners and a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant to begin work on 580 acres of coastal marsh in Jefferson Parish, La. Restoration includes construction of earthen terraces that will reduce wind and wave impacts within the marsh and stimulate growth of submerged aquatic vegetation. The improved marsh will provide excellent habitat for waterfowl and benefit people by providing clean water, flood control and storm surge protection.
To date, NAWCA has helped fund 32 projects on more than 487,000 acres in Louisiana. Many partners, including private landowners, corporations and state governments have worked together to conserve wildlife habitat through NAWCA grants.
Contact: Jennifer Kross
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.