Related Shoreline and Estuary News
March 09, 2012
Senate Approves Legislation Directing BP Fines to Gulf Coast States
Today, the Senate approved legislation in the form of an amendment to the chamber’s version of the transportation bill. The amendment will ensure 80 percent of the Clean Water Act penalties the federal government collects as a result of the BP oil spill are distributed in the best interest of the communities along the Gulf Coast.
AP: BP oil cleanup ending, restoration beginning
A recent Associated Press article by Cain Burdeau highlights the transition from oil cleanup to shoreline and habitat restoration resulting from the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion in April 2010. Coast Guard Captain Julia Hein was quoted saying "We still have ongoing cleanup in sensitive wildlife nesting habitat and archeological sites. However, there are significant portions of our coastline that are ready to move into the next phase, so that the Gulf Coast can start restoration projects critical to help heal the region."
Restore America's Estuaries Launches Wetlands Carbon Blog
Dedicated to Coastal Wetlands, Climate Change
Press Release (WASHINGTON) - Restore America's Estuaries (RAE) announced today that it has launched a Wetlands Carbon Blog (www.estuaries.org/blog.html) dedicated to exploring the role coastal wetlands play in sequestering greenhouse gases and disseminating the latest news and research behind national and international "Blue Carbon" efforts.
While it is well known that forest ecosystems store large amounts of greenhouse gas carbon-known popularly as "Green Carbon"-promising new research is focusing on so-called "Blue Carbon" in coastal wetland ecosystems such as estuaries, mangroves, seagrasses, and salt marshes.
Recent findings suggest that coastal wetlands may sequester and store carbon at rates three to five times greater than temperate forests, making them efficient-and perhaps essential-carbon "sinks" as global temperatures and sea levels rise in response to increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are among the most potent greenhouse gases (GHG), which contribute to global warming by trapping heat in the atmosphere.
"Coastal tidal wetlands sequester carbon dioxide at impressive rates, primarily in the soil. Preserving and restoring coastal wetlands can be part of the solution to reducing greenhouse emissions that fuel global warming and climate change," said Steve Emmett-Mattox, Restore America's Estuaries Senior Director of Strategic Planning and Programs, and principal Wetlands Carbon blogger.
Restore America's Estuaries is among the international leaders in Blue Carbon research and policy efforts.
Among RAE's goals is the creation of a national greenhouse gas offset protocol for coastal tidal wetlands. Such a protocol would help bring coastal wetlands into international carbon markets, providing new opportunities and incentives for private and public investment in the restoration and preservation of tidal wetlands, and a new tool for global coastal and marine conservation.
In 2010, Restore America's Estuaries, in conjunction with an international panel of experts in climate change, wetlands restoration, and carbon policy and markets, released an action plan designed to speed the creation of such a GHG protocol. RAE's "Action Plan for the Development of a National Greenhouse Gas Offset Protocol for Tidal Wetlands Restoration and Management" marks the first attempt to answer the remaining scientific, technical, and procedural issues surrounding carbon storage in coastal tidal wetlands, key parts of efforts to bring coastal wetlands into international carbon markets.
RAE is now coordinating the Verified Carbon Standard's (VCS) technical working group, which is expanding the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses (AFOLU) requirements to include wetlands. Once accepted, the new requirements will enable the creation of wetland greenhouse gas offset protocols and methodologies under the VCS.
Restore America's Estuaries (RAE) is a national alliance of 11 regional, coastal conservation organizations with more than 250,000 volunteer-members dedicated to preserving our nation's estuaries. RAE member organizations include: the American Littoral Society, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Conservation Law Foundation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Galveston Bay Foundation, North Carolina Coastal Federation, People for Puget Sound, Save The Bay-Narragansett Bay, Save The Bay-San Francisco, Save The Sound-a program of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and Tampa Bay Watch.
Restore America's Estuaries Applauds Preliminary Gulf of Mexico Regional Ecosystem Restoration Strategy
WASHINGTON--Restore America's Estuaries applauded the release yesterday of the first comprehensive framework for restoring the environmental, economic, and societal health of the Gulf of Mexico region.
The report, issued by the EPA, comes after more than a year's worth of meetings that gathered input from residents and users of the Gulf region on how to best move forward to restore the Gulf of Mexico. The strategy builds on the ongoing work, recommendations, and priorities of the Gulf Coast states, local communities, federal partners, academics, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
The restoration framework contains four overarching goals designed to guide the collective actions at the local, state and federal levels to restore the health of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem: restore and conserve habitat, restore water quality, replenish and protect living coastal and marine resources, and enhance community resilience. Each goal identifies a series of actions necessary to begin the restoration process.
"It's clear the Task Force took the time to listen to the local individuals and the organizations that best know the Gulf," said Jeff Benoit, President of Restore America's Estuaries. "This preliminary strategy hits the mark on the key actions needed to return the Gulf to its full, sustainable potential. I'm particularly pleased to see clear recognition that restoring critical coastal habitats is considered essential to maintaining healthy recreational and commercial fisheries, and creating local jobs--a real win-win for us all."
Restore America's Estuaries looks forward to continued work with the Task Force as the Gulf Strategy is further refined, finalized, and ultimately implemented," added Benoit.
Restore America's Estuaries is a national alliance of 11 regional, coastal conservation organizations with more than 250,000 volunteer-members dedicated to preserving our nation's estuaries. RAE members include: American Littoral Society, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Conservation Law Foundation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Galveston Bay Foundation, North Carolina Coastal Federation, People For Puget Sound, Save The Bay-Narragansett Bay, Save The Bay-San Francisco, Save the Sound, a program of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and Tampa Bay Watch.
Restore America's Estuaries Releases Landmark Coastal Jobs Report
Coastal Restoration Creates Jobs, Boosts Local Economies
WASHINGTON--A landmark report released today by Restore America's Estuaries (RAE) shows that coasts and estuaries are not only essential to the nation's economy, but that investments in coastal habitat restoration produce jobs in a cash-strapped, job-starved economy at a higher rate than many other sectors, including oil and gas, road-infrastructure, and green building projects.
The report, "Jobs & Dollars: Big Returns from Coastal Habitat Restoration," lays out a powerful case for government and private investment in the nation's coasts and estuaries, drawing on national and regional studies of coastal and estuarine restoration projects and setting out its findings in restoration case studies.
Among "Jobs and Dollars" key findings:
- Coastal habitat restoration--including wetland reconstruction and improvement; rebuilding depleted oyster beds; removal of obsolete dams, culverts, and other obstacles to fish passage; tree planting and floodplain restoration; and invasive species removal--typically create between 20 and 32 jobs for every $1 million invested. In comparison, road infrastructure projects on average create seven jobs per million, oil and gas return just five jobs, and green building retrofits produce 17 jobs per $1 million invested.
- Habitat restoration not only creates local jobs, it brings dollar to local businesses. In one of the report's case studies, a watershed restoration project in Oregon, 80% of monies invested in the project stayed in county; 90% stayed in state.
- Restoration not only creates direct jobs, people using their skills and equipment to restore damaged wetlands and other similar projects, but also helps stimulate indirect jobs in industries that supply project materials such as lumber, concrete, and plant materials, and supports induced jobs in businesses that provide local goods and services, such as clothing and food, to restoration workers.
- Finally, restoration projects are a sure bet, boasting enviable returns on investment to local and regional economies in the form of new jobs, increased tourism and tourist dollars, hunting and fishing revenues, tax revenues, and property values.
"Investing to restore our nation's bays and estuaries is a win-win-win situation. It's good for the environment, creates jobs, and it boosts sagging local economies," said Jeff Benoit, President and CEO of Restore America's Estuaries.
How valuable are our coasts and estuaries?
While coastal-estuarine counties make up only 13% of the U.S. land area, they generate half the nation's GDP, and provide 40% of all American employment. More than three-quarters of all U.S. trade-some $850 billion total-passes through U.S. ports annually. Further, over 75% of all commercial fishing, 80-90% of recreational fishing, and 85% of waterfowl and migratory birds depend on estuaries. Combined, the hunting and fishing industry alone generates $80 billion a year.
But despite their obvious value, both ecologically and economically, America's coasts and estuaries are in trouble. Historic losses alone are staggering. The report documents that 97% of Columbia River salmon are gone. Likewise, 95% of all San Francisco Bay wetlands have vanished, sacrificed to development and commerce. The once great Chesapeake Bay oyster is down to one percent of historic levels. Half of the Great Lakes wetlands are gone.
Louisiana's wetlands are in a class by themselves. Louisiana's coastal wetlands are receding at an astounding rate of one football field an hour. Loss of the state's wetlands not only threatens lucrative industries like shrimping and crabbing, but also puts 45% of our national oil and gas refining capacity, and 43% of our strategic petroleum reserves at risk, as well.
"It is critical for our nation to invest in coastal habitat restoration," said Benoit. "Not only to address many of these problems, but to provide jobs for out-of-work commercial fishermen, work for marinas and boat captains and barge operators, and commerce for seaside businesses, ranging from bait and tackle shops to hotels and restaurants."
Founded in 1995, Restore America's Estuaries is a national alliance of 11 regional, coastal conservation organizations with more than 250,000 volunteer-members dedicated to preserving our nation's estuaries. RAE members include: American Littoral Society, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Conservation Law Foundation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Galveston Bay Foundation, North Carolina Coastal Federation, People For Puget Sound, Save The Bay-Narragansett Bay, Save The Bay-San Francisco, Save the Sound, a program of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and Tampa Bay Watch
A new 1.8 mile long, 26 foot high storm surge reduction barrier was recently completed as part of the Corps of Engineers' ongoing efforts to improve protection at Louisiana and New Orleans waterways. Read the Times-Picayune article which includes images and videos.
This news article highlights how the Wayfarer Environmental Technology OysterBreak semi-artificial reefs are providing shoreline protection while simultaneously building new habitats. Click here to read the entire article. WWNO News
April 2011 Products such as Wayfarer Environmental Technologies will be instrumental in Gulf Coast restoration projects. The NRDA Trustees announced an agreement with BP to fund $1 Billion in early Gulf Coast Restoration Projects in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Missisippi and Texas. NOAA and the DOI will also be designating independent restoration projects. Reported on RestoreTheGulf.com
April 2011 An article published by FIS on April 5, 2011 indicates that The Nature Conservancy and its partners are continuing efforts to restore oyster reefs on the coast of Louisiana. Wayfarer Environmental Technology's OysterBreak technology is one of the solutions already in place. New sections of OysterBreak rings made from OysterKrete are already going in the water this year.