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Governor Blanco receives $15 million Ducks Unlimited pledge for coastal marsh restoration - LA

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BATON ROUGE, La., Feb. 9, 2006 - Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco today accepted a $15 million pledge from Ducks Unlimited for coastal wetlands restoration projects in Louisiana.

"This contribution provides a generous boost to our efforts to revitalize America's wetland, which was dealt devastating blows by Katrina and Rita," said Governor Blanco. "Coastal restoration is a key component in our storm protection strategy and we welcome Ducks Unlimited as a partner."


Dwight Landreneau, Secretary, LDWF; Mike Benge, DU Louisiana State Chairman (past); Pat Kehoe, DU Canada; Mrs. L. J. Mayeaux; Governor Kathleen Blanco; Ken Babcock, Director, DU Southern Regional Office; Dr. L. J. Mayeaux, DU National Board Member, Past President; Jason Thomasee, DU Louisiana State Chairman; Robert Walker, DU State Greenwing Chairman; Mary Jewell , DU Baton Rouge Chapter; and Ross Melinchuk, DU Director of Public Policy (SRO).


To date, Ducks Unlimited has protected 13,000 acres of Louisiana coastal marsh and restored or enhanced 38,000 acres. The conservation organization's $15 million pledge is the centerpoint of DU's new Louisiana coastal restoration initiative. DU will continue to work with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Department of Natural Resources, federal conservation agencies and conservation organizations to protect or restore 52,000 acres along the Louisiana coast by 2008.

"Wetlands restoration is what Ducks Unlimited does best," said Jason Thomasee, Louisiana state chairman for DU. "To get people's lives back to normal as quickly as possible requires that services and homes be restored and rebuilt, and that the critical coastal wetlands that help protect those homes and people be restored, too."

The estimated price tag to save Louisiana's coastal marsh is $14 billion. But, scientists indicate that, as a general rule, one mile of coastal marsh can reduce a storm surge by one foot. The 29-foot storm surge recorded during Hurricane Katrina was the highest ever recorded during a Gulf Coast hurricane.

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 100,000 wetland acres each year.

Editors: For more information, contact:
Ross Melinchuk, Ducks Unlimited, ph. 601-668-6953, rmelinchuk@ducks.org
Bo Boehringer, La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries, ph. 225-765-5115, bboehringer@wlf.louisiana.gov 

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