America's Wetland Campaign Takes Restoration Message to the Nation

August 29, 2002

Environmental Defense today praised the America’s Wetland campaign, a new national outreach effort unveiled by the State of Louisiana at the Southern Governor’s Association meeting in New Orleans, as an important step toward informing Americans about the value of vast but threatened coastal wetlands created by the Mississippi River

“More than one million acres of Mississippi River delta wetlands have already been lost, and until action is taken, 20,000 more acres will disappear each and every year,” said James Tripp, Environmental Defense general counsel. “This kind of loss is a national tragedy. The Mississippi and its communities are a wonderful part of America’s rich heritage, and restoring the health of the delta should be the highest possible national priority.” Tripp is a member of Governor Mike Foster’s Committee on the Future of Coastal Louisiana and the Framework Development Committee charged with providing advice to the state and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers on Mississippi delta restoration.

“Instead of being dumped off the continental shelf, river sediment should be diverted and used to rebuild wetlands,” Tripp said. We support the Governor’s efforts to raise awareness about the plight of the wetlands and the federal funding needed to develop and implement a comprehensive, science-based restoration plan.”

Restoration of coastal wetlands would greatly aid wildlife habitat and reduce polluted runoff now affecting the Gulf.

“Coastal marshes are an important home to animals and sea life and once restored, these wetlands can help filter the runoff that has contributed to the massive dead zone along the Gulf coast. The goal of this project should be to restore natural movement of sediment through the delta as a way to replenish wetlands that have been destroyed to make the Mississippi navigable,” said Environmental Defense water resources specialist Scott Faber