Letter to Congress to Support Restoration in the Mississippi River Delta
Join Ducks Unlimited and National Wildlife Federation by adding your organization or business to the sign-on letter below. Urge Congress to support funding for large-scale land building restoration projects in coastal Louisiana. View the full list of organizations who have already signed on in support of our coastal wetlands.
We, the undersigned organizations, represent millions of hunters, anglers, fish and wildlife professionals and businesses, and others who recreate on, enjoy, and/or depend on coastal Louisiana wetlands either directly or indirectly. Coastal Louisiana wetlands are being lost at an alarming rate, and bold action must be taken to reconnect the Mississippi River with the wetlands in order to save this national treasure.
Louisiana is the Mississippi River’s delta, built over 6,000 years by the shifting courses of this mighty river. As the river flooded every spring, it deposited millions of tons of sediment, creating nutrient rich wetlands and marshes. The 3.4 million acres of marsh, swamp, forests, and barrier islands in coastal Louisiana constitutes the largest wetland complex in the continental United States. Each year, Louisiana’s coastal marshes host up to 20% of the nation’s wintering waterfowl. Incredibly, more than 10 million ducks and geese from the Mississippi and Central flyways winter on Louisiana’s coast. Simply put, waterfowl are grown up north and they need a place to winter down south. These wetlands also support important commercial fisheries and provide extraordinary hunting and fishing opportunities. Coastal Louisiana marshes are a cornerstone of the $70 billion generated annually by sportsmen and women. In addition to the world-class wildlife habitat, coastal Louisiana’s wetlands provide protections for the residents of Louisiana. When violent storms occur, coastal wetlands provide a protective buffer, soaking up excess water and minimizing storm surges.
Levees built for flood control have straight-jacketed the Mississippi River. Instead of spreading nutrient-rich sediment that builds and sustains the delta and surrounding wetlands, the sediment funnels into the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, channels dug for navigation and oil and gas extraction have allowed salt water to destroy huge cypress forests and vast areas of freshwater marsh. Since the 1930s, more than 2,100 square miles of Louisiana’s vital marshlands have disappeared. Every 30 minutes, another area of coastland the size of a football field disappears. This loss also endangers a large fishing industry, which contributes to a billion dollar industry vital to the economy of the country.
Reconnecting the Mississippi River to the wetlands can be done through sound policies and partnerships. We urge you to support funding for large-scale land building restoration projects and cooperation between federal and state agencies.
Specifically we ask you to:
• Secure significant investment from federal, state, and private sources for coastal Louisiana restoration in the next five years
• Establish a new, dedicated funding stream to fund coastal Louisiana restoration
• Create a comprehensive restoration plan overseen by federal and state representatives with the authority, capacity, and leadership to implement the plan.
Coastal Louisiana restoration is a national priority for preserving our American hunting and fishing heritage. We look forward to working with you to ensure that coastal Louisiana restoration is done to the benefit of fish, wildlife, and water resources.
National Wildlife Federation
View full list of organizations