Victoria has worked in different realms of the coastal industry for the last seven years, utilizing her science background and people skills in her daily work to build support for the restoration of Louisiana’s coast.
Q: What is your job title and affiliation?
A: I am the Executive Director of Restore or Retreat, a nonprofit coastal advocacy group working to identify and expedite the implementation of aggressive, large-scale restoration projects in Louisiana’s bayou region, specifically the Barataria and Terrebonne Basins.
Q: How did you get started in this field and how long have you been doing this type of work?
A: My agriculturally-rooted, coastal upbringing laid the foundation of my coastal restoration passion. Most of my childhood memories include following my grandfather around the family farm, inadvertently learning about salt water intrusion, subsidence and other coastal issues affecting agronomy of our crops. Also, seeing “hot” grassy fishing spots completely disappear in very short timespans raised concern for long term implications to the rest of our coast.
Q: Describe the part of your job/role that you enjoy the most.
A: Having the opportunity to engage with a largely diverse and supportive group of people on a daily basis, all sharing so much of the same extensive passion for Louisiana’s coast, community and culture that drives Restore or Retreat’s work. The collective goal of saving our irreplaceable home is powerful and inspiring!
Q: Describe the part of your job/role that you believe is the most impactful.
A: Knowing that our work can have monumental impacts and far-reaching benefits on the lives and livelihoods of so many, including my family who have resided and depended on the coast for decades. The overall mission of Restore or Retreat is very personal to me!
Q: What do you think is the best/easiest way people can help restore or preserve wetlands?
A: Louisiana’s coast and its needs is multifaceted, just as the approach to restoration is. We need volunteers for coastal activities, we need presence at public meetings and events, among many other things; but above all else, we need coastal advocates and voices of support, and that will look different for each individual person. The best first step in coastal involvement, in my opinion, is learning the state of our coast and what is at stake of being lost, and engaging with organizations like Restore or Retreat to facilitate steps of action toward coastal progress.
Q: In your opinion why is coastal restoration in Louisiana important? For folks out of state, why is Louisiana’s coastal restoration work important for the nation?
A: Louisiana’s coast uniquely intertwines environment and economy resulting in a multifaceted hub impacting the entire nation in various aspects. Continued land loss in Louisiana would cost the national economy billions of dollars and directly threaten an extensive list of industries such as energy, commercial fishing/seafood, ports and shipping, navigation, ship building, agriculture and livestock, and much more. Restoration works—it strengthens our coast, community, environment, economy and culture. In my opinion, restoring our coast is not only necessary, but essential; our economy depends on Louisiana’s coastal health. The world needs more Louisiana!
Q: What is your favorite recreational activity to do in the wetlands?
A: I will never be able to prioritize one wetland recreational activity over another—making the best seasonal use of Louisiana’s coast and sportsman’s paradise while working to keep it healthy and bountiful for future generations is of significant importance to me!