April 30, 2013
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, firstname.lastname@example.org
Erin Greeson, National Audubon Society, 503.913.8978, email@example.com
Elizabeth Skree, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Lafitte, LA—April 30, 2013) Today, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced that BP has agreed to fund approximately $320 million in barrier island restoration projects in Louisiana. This funding will come from the $1 billion in early Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds that BP agreed to invest in restoration of damaged natural resources resulting from the 2010 Gulf oil disaster.
Three leading national conservation organizations working on Mississippi River Delta restoration — Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation and National Audubon Society — released the following joint statement in response to the announcement:
“More than two years after BP’s initial pledge, it’s about time that a large amount of early Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds be released for work in hard-hit Louisiana. These dollars, still only a portion of the $1 billion BP down payment, will restore four barrier islands directly affected by the 2010 BP oil disaster, that provide important habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife.
“We are glad to see the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process is moving forward, because Gulf Coast restoration has waited long enough. The Mississippi River Delta is an economic and environmental cornerstone for the Gulf region and the entire nation, and barrier island restoration projects are an important component of necessary comprehensive coastal restoration. These projects will materially advance implementation of Louisiana’s 2012 Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast, the foundation of the effort to reverse wetland loss in the Mississippi River Delta.
“We encourage the Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees, the state of Louisiana, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Interior (DOI) and BP to continue to work together on projects like these that will restore Louisiana’s coast following the harm done during the BP oil disaster.”
The early Natural Resource Damage Assessment projects will restore four barrier islands, from Terrebonne Parish to the east bank of Plaquemines Parish, and represent an investment in restoration of areas that Governor Jindal called the most-injured by the oil disaster, including:
- Caillou Lake Headlands Component, which is also known as Whiskey Island, in Terrebonne Parish. This $110 million component will restore beaches, dunes and back-barrier marshes.
- Cheniere Ronquille Component, which is on the west bank of Plaquemines Parish in Barataria Bay. In coordination with NOAA, this $35 million component will construct beaches, dunes and back-barrier marshes.
- Shell Island Component, which is on the west bank of Plaquemines Parish in Barataria Bay. This $101 million component will restore back-barrier marsh and dunes and beach on the east and west lobes.
- Breton Island Component, which is on the east bank of Plaquemines Parish in the Breton Sound. While the project configuration is still being finalized in coordination with DOI, this $72 million component will restore and protect beach, marsh, and dune in the Breton National Wildlife Refuge on some of the most important seabird nesting islands in the northern Gulf.