Today the Louisiana Legislature passed a resolution recognizing the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) for its Oyster Shell Recycling Program, the first-of-its-kind in Louisiana. As the program nears its one year anniversary it has surpassed Maryland’s program as the largest oyster shell recycling program in the country.
The announcement comes on the heels of the Legislature’s passage of House Concurrent Resolution 1 (HCR1), which is the funding mechanism for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s 2015-2016 annual plan. The passage of HCR1 reconfirms the Legislature’s commitment to coastal restoration. The legislative commendation of the Oyster Shell Recycling Program is a testament to CRCL’s mission to drive bold, science-based action to rebuild Coastal Louisiana.
“Louisiana loves oysters – and we produce a lot of oyster shell,” said Hilary Collis, CRCL’s Restoration Program Director. “It just didn’t make sense to throw all those shells in landfills when we knew they should be going back in the water to make our oyster fishery stronger and protect our coast. In less than a year, our 12 participating New Orleans area Restaurants have collected 725 tons of oyster shell that will be returned to our coastal waters. Click here for full press release.
The Obama Administration is proposing to yank $3 billion in future oil and gas revenue from Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, which will be redistributed throughout the country. CRCL believes it leaves Coastal Louisiana extremely vulnerable. Read the full press release here.
In the past 75 years, more than 2,300 square miles of coastal Louisiana have been converted to open water by natural processes and human activity. Roughly translated, this is an area of wetlands equivalent to the state of Delaware that has simply disappeared.
Human alteration of this landscape has accelerated much of Louisiana’s coastal land-loss. Levees built to facilitate and maintain navigation and flood protection along the Mississippi River have choked off the rich sediment that once built and replenished wetlands. Additionally, thousands of miles of oil and gas pipelines and canals that provide essential energy to the nation slice through Louisiana’s wetlands, hastening the erosion of this sediment starved landscape.
Despite these obstacles, it is still possible to restore Louisiana’s coastal landscape to a sustainable and productive state. But we must act now. Without immediate and decisive action, Louisiana will continue to lose land at an alarming rate, potentially losing an additional 1,000 square miles of land by the year 2050.
The loss of coastal Louisiana is perhaps the largest preventable environmental crisis in America and CRCL is committed to restoring and protecting a sustainable, vibrant and productive coastal Louisiana. Click here to see more about CRCL.