Category: Investment, Water
Baton Rouge, LA - September 12, 2016 (www.waternewswire.com) Since 1988, National Estuaries Week (September 17-24, 2016) has celebrated the many ways we benefit from healthy, thriving coastal ecosystems and this year, the America's WETLAND Foundation (AWF) commends the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration (RESTORE) Council for recognizing "Creative Conservation Financing" as an important strategy to help save Louisiana's threatened estuaries, providing a workable solution to the challenge.
AWF has long advocated for public-private partnerships as a mechanism to increase restoration funding through innovative financing and transitional projects to protect the coast and ensure the success of long-term, large-scale wetland restoration projects. With Louisiana at the epicenter of wetlands loss in the U.S., losing an equivalent of a football field of land every hour, the Foundation believes creative conservation financing is one way to turn back the tide.
The Council's recently-released comprehensive plan states that "private sector and non-profit entities are actively exploring new and innovative ways to bring capital to restoration activities... the Council welcomes these potential partners and is interested in exploring ways in which such endeavors can potentially help the Council advance its mission."
The RESTORE Council's recommendations will be highlighted during one of two roundtables in October being hosted by AWF and Louisiana's Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority (CPRA) that will explore topics such as leveraging ecosystem services values into private restoration investment and achieving financial stewardship and return on investment in partnering with private sector investors in restoration. The October meetings will inform a larger coastal summit to be hosted by CPRA and AWF in December.
"These roundtables will explore creative conservation financing including making mitigation good business for restoration and land-based environmental offset markets," Val Marmillion, AWF managing director, said. "We will also focus on how to ensure the new master plan's operational success and move past contentious issues that could delay its progress."
AWF has worked over the past decade with agencies at the federal, state and local levels and with the private sector to establish new financing models for restoring the coast. Most recently the Foundation in cooperation with private landowners, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ducks Unlimited completed a demonstration restoration project on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway utilizing innovative products and private funding to complete one mile of embankment stabilization to prevent shoreline widening and salt water intrusion into fresh water marshes. Transitional projects similar to these can be an important part of the mix of restoration, complementing larger master plan projects and allowing a path for private participation that makes good business sense for protecting community, environmental, and economic assets.
The project demonstrated dramatic cost and timesavings compared to traditional methods of shoreline protection. It was supported with private funding through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, CITGO, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Community Coffee.
The America's WETLAND Foundation manages the largest, most comprehensive public education campaign in Louisiana's history, raising public awareness of the impact of Louisiana's wetland loss on the state, nation and world. The initiative is supported by a growing coalition of world, national and state conservation and environmental organizations and has drawn private support from businesses that see wetlands protection as a key to economic growth. For more information, visit www.americaswetland.com.
America's WETLAND Foundation
838 North Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
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