On June 27th residents of Terrebonne Parish and other concerned citizens gathered at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center for the first Terrebonne Parish Coastal Day. This event included educational displays, restoration equipment, informative panels featuring elected officials and coastal experts, and plenty of discussion on levees, floodgates, non-structural risk reduction and restoration. Speakers such as Colonel Clancy of the Army Corp of Engineers and State Senator Norby Chabert described how Terrebonne Parish has been one of the most aggressive parishes in protecting communities and livelihoods by working diligently to get permits and funding for projects in the area. Posters on the walls displayed projects from Amelia to South Lafourche showcasing the work being done to better protect Terrebonne Parish from situations such as hurricanes and flooding. Along with CWPPRA, other exhibitors in attendance included organizations such as the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Restore or Retreat, and the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center. Special guest, Beignet the Nutria, accompanied the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center as a visual reminder of the speed at which nutria eat vegetation and the destruction that this animal can cause to coastal wetlands. Over 700 people were in attendance for this interactive showcase of coastal protection.
The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act Public Outreach staff attended the event as exhibitors providing information and materials to educate the public on wetland and coastal restoration. Publications such as Partners in Restoration, Understanding CWPPRA, Coastal Wetlands Restoration Residents’ Guide,CWPPRA Posters, and Henri Heron’s Louisiana Wetlands were distributed in addition to editions of WaterMarks and fact sheets featuring projects within Terrebonne, Lafourche, and St. Mary Parishes.
On October 15, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hosted the 19th Annual Wild Things Festival at the Southeast Louisiana Refuge Headquarters in Lacombe, La. This exciting family-friendly event gives the community an opportunity to engage in outdoor activities while celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week. This free public event included canoe and pontoon boat tours, hayrides, live animals, wildflower walks, kids activities, bird house building, live music, and a youth wildlife art competition.
The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act Public Outreach staff was among the 40 exhibitors providing hands-on activities to encourage knowledge of the Louisiana outdoors. In order to accurately portray the importance of aquatic, coastal regions, the CWPPRA staff utilized an ocean character, Sid the Restoration Squid, whose six unique legs each represented a different restoration method. The six restoration methods include barrier island restorations, marsh creations, shoreline protection, hydrologic restoration, freshwater and sediment diversions, and terracing. Each leg consisted of a distinct craft material that would correspond with a restoration method, in which children would assemble and personalize their own squid. Each child’s personal squid was accompanied by an explanation guide of CWPPRA’s efforts to restore, protect, and/or create Louisiana’s wetlands.
On Monday, April 4th, The Coast Builders Coalition and the Louisiana Legislature held an annual one-day event dedicated to highlighting the efforts to restore, protect, and enhance Louisiana’s coast. The event entitled “Coastal Day at the Legislature” involved educating representatives and legislators from across the state on our depleting coast, land loss rates, and potential methods of restoration.
The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act’s Public Outreach staff participated by displaying a number of publications on the House side of the Rotunda in Louisiana’s Capitol. In addition to distributing publications and answering questions, the outreach staff had the honor of being present during a meeting in which Governor Edwards issued an executive order directing all state agencies to operate in a manner consistent with the Coastal Master Plan.
Governor Edwards stated, “the Louisiana coast is vital to our heritage and our economy, which is why doing everything within our power to ensure that it is restored and protected must be a priority. The Coastal Master Plan provides safe and sustainable ways in which all departments can operate, thereby helping to ensure that the coast continues to be productive.” In addition to the governor, speakers including Representative Tanner Magee, Representative Robert Billiot, Representative Jerome Zeringue, Representative Stuart Bishop, Senator Norby Chabert, Steve Cochran with Restore the Mississippi River Delta, Sidney Coffee with America’s Wetland Foundation, and Scott Kirkpatrick with Coast Builders Coalition discussed issues pertaining to Louisiana’s coast. Johnny Bradberry, Governor Edwards’ executive assistant for coastal activities, announced that Louisiana will receive a minimum of $6.8 billion for claims related to natural resource damages, economic claims, and penalties against the Clean Water Act and Oil Pollution Act from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.