SOC 2016

FullSizeRenderThe State of the Coast conference took place June 1-3rd in New Orleans, LA. The State of the Coast conference is an interdisciplinary forum to exchange timely and relevant information on the dynamic conditions of Louisiana’s coastal communities, environment, and economy and to apply that information to existing and future coastal restoration and protection efforts, policies, and decision-making. The conference is hosted by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana in partnership with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and The Water Institute of the Gulf. CWPPRA is a sponsor of State of the Coast.

Kimberly Davis Reyher, Executive Director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, began the conference with a brief welcome and an introduction of the welcome address speaker, Johnny Bradberry, Executive Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Affairs and CPRA Chairman. The welcome was followed by a keynote address by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. During his speech, Governor Edwards stated, “Coastal dollars are going to be used for coastal issues. We are ready for more, bigger, and better projects. I did not become governor to watch south Louisiana wash away.”  In addition, the governor declared,

“coastal restoration is important in more ways than we can count if we want to remain the great State of Louisiana.”

Other plenary speakers included Michael Ellis, Executive Director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority; Chip Groat, President and CEO of The Water Institute of the Gulf; Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City of New Orleans; and Dr. Denise Reed, Chief Scientist at The Water Institute of the Gulf. Brad Inman, Senior Project Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Chairman of the CWPPRA Planning and Evaluation Committee, presented The Status and Future of the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act Program.

nutriaThe CWPPRA outreach exhibit at State of the Coast was an exciting stop for conference attendees. Through a partnership with the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, participants were able to visit with a live alligator and nutria at the booth. Beignet the nutria demonstrated the tremendous quantity and speed at which nutria can eat, illustrating the destruction that they cause to coastal wetlands. Bootsie, an American Alligator, represented wetland wildlife that contributes to local economy and various industries. CWPPRA debuted a new poster series campaign entitled “Protect Our Coast.” Illustrated by CWPPRA Media Specialist Nikki Cavalier, the two posters depict the Louisiana iris and the Brown Pelican. The Protect Our Coast campaign theme was extended through a photo booth in the exhibit. Participants were able to select from a variety of props to hold or wear while posing in front of the campaign poster banners. Participants posted their photos on multiple social media platforms with the campaign hashtag #ProtectOurCoast.

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Coastal Day at the Legislature

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

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.

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