The Gulf Coast is home to more than half of all saltwater wetlands in the country and nearly 35 percent of nation’s freshwater wetlands. These wetlands are critical feeding, breeding, and resting habitats for a number of game fish and waterfowl.
Unfortunately, the Gulf Coast has seen enormous degradation over the past century, especially the Mississippi River Delta in Louisiana. Not only does the Gulf of Mexico lose 20,000 acres of coastal wetlands every year, but the Gulf’s water quality has declined, its oyster reefs have been lost, its barrier islands eroded and its seagrass beds destroyed. These changes have reduced populations of many species of fish and waterfowl. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oilspill was another hit to these vulnerable ecosystems.
If the wild spaces of the Gulf Coast aren’t protected and restored, the region will lose its rich hunting and angling heritage. Funding from the Deepwater disaster provides a long-awaited opportunity to address comprehensive habitat restoration. It gives us the chance to restore the region, rebuild its wetlands like the Mississippi River Delta and protect water quality using a comprehensive science-based plan. America’s sportsmen and women need to speak up to make sure these funds are spent wisely and used to improve fish and waterfowl habitats.
Learn more about restoration priorities for each Gulf state:
- Why Estuaries Matter to Sportsmen
- National Sportsman’s Group Urges Gulf Restoration Council to Prioritize Ecosystem Projects
- Ducks Unlimited Urges Obama Administration to Speed Up Restoration Plans