(New Orleans—November 15, 2013) Today, new educational, interactive signage will be unveiled on the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle viewing platform in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. These signs will help visitors and residents understand what they are seeing as they gaze out over the ghostly remnant snags of a former cypress swamp. At this site, in the backyard of a community less than five miles from the French Quarter that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, visitors will learn about efforts to restore the ecosystem and the broader, critical need for coastal restoration.
“The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA) and parishes have already committed millions of dollars to the restoration of the Central Wetlands area. This urban swamp is not just one of the best educational and accessible tools we have to teach our children about the important role wetlands play in our environment, but a healthy Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MRGO) ecosystem plays a key role in tempering storm surge for these historic Ninth Ward and St. Bernard communities,” said Garret Graves, Chair of CPRA. “We look forward to working with area neighborhoods, Orleans and St. Bernard parishes and other stakeholders to restore this once-thriving area as envisioned in the State’s Coastal Master Plan.”
“Not long ago, Bayou Bienvenue was a freshwater cypress swamp filled with indigenous wildlife, but after the completion of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet shipping channel, it was left decimated by saltwater intrusion,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “Today, efforts are underway to restore this natural treasure. The new interactive signage will increase awareness of these efforts and the bayou’s importance to coastal restoration.”
The signs explain the importance of the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle to the community, what has happened to the area since construction of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) and how the Triangle serves as a portal to the larger land loss issues facing Louisiana’s coast. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with the signs and the natural areas around them by using their smartphones to watch videos, call to listen to coastal experts, sign an action alert, text “BAYOU” to donate to the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development’s coastal outreach program, sign up for volunteer events, sign an electronic guestbook and learn even more about restoration efforts on the signs’ accompanying website, www.restorethebayou.org.
“This event is a wonderful expression of collaboration and coordination among community, city, state and national groups working together for the benefit of the Lower Ninth Ward Community,” said Arthur Johnson, Executive Director of The Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development. “The Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle and platform is a dynamic component displaying the texture and make-up of residents and neighborhoods in the Lower Ninth Ward. This effort is a continuation of building a sustainable and resilient community as created and developed by Pam Dashiell, founder of the CSED.”
“The Mississippi River Delta Restoration Coalition is pleased to work with the community to help interpret one of the most visited and accessible coastal sites in Louisiana, the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle,” said Amanda Moore, Greater New Orleans Program Manager for National Wildlife Federation. “These one-of-a-kind signs will help thousands of visitors learn more about and engage in the critical effort to restore our coast.”
This signage project is a product of The Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.