A tele-town hall conference with National Wildlife Federation and Ducks Unlimited to mark the one-year memorial of the BP oil disaster and discuss the spill's effects on wildlife and habitats. Coastal Louisiana's wetlands support world-class hunting and fishing opportunities that were jeopardized by last summer's oil disaster. The Mississippi Delta and coast of Louisiana were already under siege before the oil spill, losing a football field of land every 38 minutes. At stake is not only the fate of the region's abundant wildlife—including commercially and recreationally important fisheries and critical wintering habitat for millions of waterfowl.
Louisiana's wildlife and habitats need our attention—and that of Congress—to recover from the oil spill. One year into the Gulf oil disaster, Congress still has not acted to pass response legislation. Our leaders need to make good on the promises made to make the Gulf whole again. Congress must pass legislation that dedicates fines and penalties from the disaster to restoring Gulf Coast wetlands and ecosystems. The only fair and right solution is for those fines to go to the Gulf region to help restore the wetlands that have suffered from the oil spill.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011; 8 pm eastern/7 pm central
1-877-229-8493, call-in code 15842
Larry Schweiger, President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation and Dale Hall, CEO, Ducks Unlimited
The long-term impacts of the BP oil spill are still unfolding and may take years to fully understand, but the continued damage wreaked on Louisiana's coastal wetlands threaten important fish and waterfowl populations
. The largest catch of redfish, world class opportunities for speckled trout, tuna and rockfish, and 10 million waterfowl wintering in coastal Louisiana truly make this state a "Sportsmen's Paradise."
Unfortunately, the BP oil disaster could not have happened at a worse time for many commercially and recreationally important fish species that were spawning or had just completed spawning, exposing vulnerable eggs and larvae to the toxic effects of oil and putting the survival of fragile species even further at risk. Migrating waterfowl were also beginning to arrive on the coast for winter. These wetlands provide critical wildlife habitat, nurseries for the area's commercial and recreational fisheries and vital wintering grounds for our nation's waterfowl—and Congress must take steps to restore and preserve these areas now for future generations.
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225-253-9781, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Dolle, Ducks Unlimited, 901-758-3937, email@example.com