Dear Louisiana DU Member:
We are writing to you as Louisianans head to the polls on September 30th to vote on a number of ballot initiatives, several of which have the potential to positively impact waterfowl and wetlands conservation and duck hunting in the Bayou State for generations to come. Ducks Unlimited encourages you to vote in favor of the constitutional amendments pertaining to coastal protection and restoration in Louisiana.
Loss of habitat, both on the northern breeding grounds and in Louisiana, continues to be the biggest threat to the health of continental waterfowl populations and the future of waterfowl hunting. Duck populations rise and fall in response to many variables, resulting in both good and bad hunting seasons. Several of these variables, such as drought, record warm winters to the north, and hurricanes are beyond our control, but we can do something about most habitat loss. And that is why we encourage you to vote in favor of the three amendments discussed below.
The continued loss of waterfowl habitat is the most important factor influencing continental waterfowl populations. Louisiana is losing 25 to 35 square miles of coastal wetlands every year and if nothing is done to slow this pace, we will lose another 700 square miles of coastal marsh by the year 2050! In excess of 100 square miles of healthy coastal marsh was turned into open water overnight as a result of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. This is vital wintering waterfowl habitat, and of course, prime duck hunting country! We must act now if we are to improve the future of wetlands and waterfowl hunting in Louisiana as we have also learned these wetlands can also protect us from storm surges associated with hurricanes. Passage of Amendments 1, 2 and 3 is one way of doing that! These amendments propose the following:
Amendment # 1 -- Changes the name from the Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Fund to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund (CPRF). This will ensure that the eligible federal revenues received by the state generated from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas activity shall be credited to the CPRF and used only for purposes of coastal wetlands conservation, coastal restoration, hurricane protection, and infrastructure directly impacted by coastal wetland losses.
Amendment # 2 -- Requires 20 percent of the proceeds of tobacco securitization be deposited in the CPRF, with a portion to be used for barrier island stabilization and preservation, and repeals the Louisiana Coastal Restoration Fund.
Amendment # 3-- Authorizes the legislature to establish regional flood protection authorities and provide for its governing authority, powers, duties and functions and authorizes ad valorem taxes subject to voter approval.
Passage of these amendments is vital to the future of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands and they support DU’s mission of waterfowl and wetland habitat conservation for the benefit of not only waterfowl but those of us who enjoy them as well! As a member of DU, we encourage you to vote in favor of these amendments and in so doing, enhance the state’s ability to fulfill its role in coastal wetlands conservation. The impact of your vote on September 30th stands to benefit countless generations of waterfowl….and waterfowl hunters!
In closing, we want to thank you for your past support of Ducks Unlimited. As you are probably aware, Ducks Unlimited has pledged $15 million to restoring Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. You can show your support for this commitment by attending a DU event in your area this fall and winter, or by making an online donation. Check the time and place of the next DU event in your area by clicking here. It is only through the support of dedicated members like you that DU is able to fulfill its role in the protection, restoration and enhancement of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, one of this nation’s most precious wetland resources! Thank you for your time and consideration of this unique opportunity to affect the future of Louisiana’s waterfowl and wetlands. Best wishes for a great waterfowl hunting season!
D. A. (Don) Young -- Executive Vice President
Jason Thomasee -- Louisiana State Chairman
Dr. Ronal Roberson-- Regional Vice President