Wetland Warrior: Dean Blanchard

Dean Blanchard has been working with the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program since 1997, where he now serves as the Deputy Director.

Q:  What is your job title and affiliation? 

A:   Deputy Director, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP)

Q:  How did you get started in this field and how long have you been doing this type of work? 

A:   After graduating from LSU, I started with the Department of Environmental Quality-Criminal Investigation Section for 5 years. I then moved to BTNEP as the Habitat Enhancement Coordinator 24 years ago.

Q:  Describe the part of your job/role that you enjoy the most. 

A:   I enjoy working in the wetlands on coastal restoration projects that have multiple functions and impacts such as spending many hours planting with volunteers on the Port Fourchon Maritime Forest Ridge project.  This project has provided value habitat, storm protection, and educational opportunities for 20 years.

Q: Describe the part of your job/role that you believe is the most impactful.   

A:   I believe the most impactful part of my job is doing my part in securing the funding for BTNEP every year, by educating the Louisiana federal Congressional Delegation and working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  This action helps to provide Louisiana with funding for one of the 28 National Estuary Programs in our country.

Q:  What do you think is the best/easiest way people can help restore or preserve wetlands? 

A:  I think people can help the most by educating themselves about the wetland’s functions and values, most importantly storm protection and provided valuable fisheries and habitat.

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:   Coastal restoration is important to Louisiana for many reasons, but most importantly is storm protection.  Coastal restoration is important to the nation because the wetlands provide protection for the oil and gas infrastructure that in turn provides oil and gas to the nation.  Also important is the large percentage of seafood Louisiana wetlands provide to the nation.

Q: What is your favorite recreational activity to do in the wetlands?

A:   I am an avid hunter and fisherman and have enjoyed just being in the wetlands for most of my life.

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