Together we can leave a legacy of conservation and stewardship

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1 Together we can leave a legacy of conservation and stewardship Case for Support

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3 Dear Friends, For over two decades, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana has worked to restore and protect a sustainable coastal Louisiana. As this dynamic landscape changes, the objectives of CRCL have also changed, but throughout our established and formidable history CRCL s commitment to restore and protect coastal Louisiana has never wavered. As we embark on a new era of implementation, CRCL has formulated a path ahead that builds on our 20-year record of accomplishment, leadership and commitment. CRCL s Board of Directors has worked closely with our staff to outline the following objectives in the coming years: Continuing our work to incorporate and implement the Multiple Lines of Defense Strategy as a core principle of state and federal plans and projects. Working diligently to implement and expedite priority restoration projects, including large-scale river diversions, shoreline protection and the beneficial use of dredged material. Streamlining the project planning process for efficiency and public acceptance. Creating and advocating for policies that place coastal restoration on equal footing with navigation and flood protection efforts. Continuing to lead the development of innovative multiple-use programs including the beneficial use of dredged material, wetland assimilation of treated effluent and a plan that uses high flow stages on the Mississippi River to maximize restoration. Partnering with national and regional environmental organizations to advance restoration efforts at the national level. Continuing to grow our capacity to be an effective organization by engaging members and the general public in the vital and successful work of CRCL. Restoring and protecting our coast remains the single most important issue facing our state and we value the dedication and support of members, volunteers, sponsors and interested citizens who share our commitment. We look forward to your active participation in our programs and events in the pursuit of our shared vision for a vibrant, healthy and sustainable coastal Louisiana. Sincerely, Steven Peyronnin Executive Director

4 Coastal Louisiana is washing away. 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. Louisiana loses nearly 25 square miles of land every year. This loss can be avoided only if we choose a different future. 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 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. A True Coalition CRCL is a non-profit advocacy organization whose mission is to restore and protect a sustainable coastal Louisiana. In pursuit of our mission, CRCL advocates for the implementation of sound coastal policies and monitors coastal activities to ensure that stringent regulations and enforcement policies are maintained. Incorporated in 1988, CRCL represents a unique mix of businesses, local governments, industries, scientific communities, national and local conservation

5 groups, hunters, anglers and a broad spectrum of concerned citizens who all share a common vision and commitment to the sustainability of coastal Louisiana. The common vision of these varied and diverse interests is the driving strength of CRCL, the most effective and recognized coastal advocacy organization in the state. Recognizing that Louisiana s coastal land-loss will have dramatic impacts on the nation s energy, navigation and fisheries interests, CRCL works at the state, local and federal level to ensure that restoring and protecting coastal Louisiana is a top priority for our state and the nation. In addition to our role as advocate and watchdog, we also serve as responsible stewards of Louisiana s rich coastal wetlands. We facilitate and fund actual restoration projects through our Community-Based Habitat Restoration Program and we work diligently to raise awareness and educate others about the importance of preserving and restoring coastal Louisiana. This multifaceted, comprehensive and coast-wide approach to coastal restoration distinguishes CRCL from any other civic or environmental group in the region. The importance of coastal Louisiana Louisiana s wetlands and barrier islands help protect coastal communities from tropical storms and hurricanes. Louisiana s bayous, waterways and rivers provide essential navigation routes for national and international shipping and commerce. Louisiana s marshes and swamps provide important habitat and food resources for some of our nation s most productive fisheries. Louisiana s wetlands and barrier islands protect much of the nation s oil and gas infrastructure from wave and storm damage. Louisiana s rich traditions, diverse cultures and world-renowned cuisine are deeply rooted in our rich coastal environment. If we allow this unique and productive landscape to disappear, we risk losing our communities, our culture, our economic security and our future.

6 Community-Based Restoration Program: Leading by Example As responsible stewards of our coastal wetlands, leading by example is a core principle of CRCL. Through our Community-Based Habitat Restoration Program, we fund, design and build restoration projects throughout Louisiana s coastal zone. Together with volunteers, corporations, civic and conservation organizations, CRCL directs coastal restoration projects that simultaneously educate, inform and raise awareness about the importance of preserving and restoring coastal Louisiana. The coastal wetlands of Louisiana are vitally important to the safety, well-being and quality of life in the region Entergy serves. Seeing so many volunteers come together to help restore the natural wetland forests in the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center is heartening and symbolizes the spirit of rebirth and recovery that is so important to our community. Brent Dorsey, Director of Corporate Environmental Programs, Entergy In just the past five years, the Coalition s Community-Based Restoration Program has restored over 1,700 acres of wetlands, investing nearly $2.2 million and over 15,000 volunteer hours in nearly 30 different restoration projects. Funding for this program is acquired through grants, corporate sponsors, local governments and individual giving. We partner with universities and numerous other organizations for technical expertise and matching funds. Our corporate sponsors are environmental leaders and enjoy the benefit of engaging their employees and their communities in coastal restoration CRCL is incorporated and releases Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, our citizen s program for saving the Mississippi Delta Region. CRCL plays a leading role in framing and passing a state constitutional amendment to conserve, restore, create and enhance wetlands.

7 Symposia and Workshops: Advocating with Science Good advocacy begins with sound science. Throughout our history, CRCL has relied on strong science and technical information as the foundation for our advocacy positions. CRCL has an established history of facilitating the exchange of information between many diverse stakeholders throughout coastal Louisiana, including academia, federal agencies, state and local governments, elected officials, landowners, industrial and business leaders, other non-governmental organizations, and the general public. Since the storms of 2005, CRCL has convened symposia and workshops to reconcile scientific and technical uncertainties. These educational sessions influence decision-making by land managers, planners, and policy makers. In 2008, CRCL hosted the Atchafalaya Basin Workshop with the goal of fostering a holistic understanding of the Atchafalaya River and its associated environments. Approximately 150 participants attended 30 presentations on topics covering hydrology, geomorphology, ecology, protection and culture. In 2009, CRCL convened the Chenier Plain Symposium, attended by over 300 individuals in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The symposium included presentations and sessions that addressed the scientific, policy and stakeholder issues relevant to expediting comprehensive coastal protection and restoration in Southwest Louisiana. The symposium is a victory for government officials and coastal restoration advocates in Cameron, Calcasieu and Vermilion Parishes who banded together earlier this year to promote the plight of the Chenier Plain and to campaign for funds to repair it. Brett Downer, Editor, American Press Inspired by CRCL s Save the Wetlands campaign, Congress passes the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA). CRCL s work to update its Here Today, Gone Tomorrow plan serves as an important basis for drafting the CWPPRA comprehensive restoration plan.

8 Multiple Lines of Defense: A Strategy for a Sustainable Coast Scientists have warned for decades that the massive loss of coastal wetlands would have dire consequences for hurricane protection. In 2005, those consequences became a national crisis when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita slammed into the coast of Louisiana, claiming thousands of lives, devastating our coastal communities, and converting over 200 square miles of wetlands to open water within a single month. In response to the storms of 2005, CRCL and the Lake Ponchartrain Basin Foundation developed the Multiple Lines of Defense (MLOD) Strategy as a systemwide approach to coastal protection. This strategy integrates barrier island and wetland restoration with levee protection and home elevation. The MLOD Strategy targets restoration that increases storm protection through the establishment of a healthy coastal buffer. The MLOD Report identifies specific projects that benefit both flood protection and ecosystem restoration. The MLOD Strategy has been formally adopted by both the State of Louisiana and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a guiding concept for protection and restoration planning. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita demonstrated how vulnerable we truly are to anticipated increases in hurricane intensity and frequency. Hurricanes Gustav and Ike were a clear reminder that continued coastal land-loss increases the risk to our communities and our culture CRCL led a successful effort to pass a state constitutional amendment to allow limited severance of mineral rights from surface rights to facilitate restoration projects. CRCL helps found Restore America s Estuaries, a national network of 11 regional estuary restoration organizations.

9 Coastal Stewardship Awards Program: Fostering Leadership CRCL s Coastal Stewardship Awards Program recognizes individuals and organizations who have made a significant contribution to the preservation and restoration of Louisiana s coastal wetlands. These contributions set an example of stewardship and serve as a vision for the future. The program and its recipients raise the profile of restoration efforts by promoting coastal stewardship and encouraging others to share in that responsibility. Since 1995, CRCL has recognized nearly 100 individuals and organizations from various backgrounds and fields for their dedication to coastal Louisiana. The Stewardship Awards Program reflects our ability to engage diverse stakeholders in a shared commitment to restoring our coast. The program recognizes the contributions of individuals and groups from all walks of life including volunteers, sporting clubs, religious and civic groups, community leaders, businesses, teachers and scientists. CRCL is able to continue the tradition of recognizing outstanding coastal stewards due in large part to the support we receive from sponsors who proudly partner with CRCL to honor our award recipients CRCL produces awardwinning documentary Bayou of the Lost. CRCL serves as main catalyst for the state/federal Coast 2050 strategy.

10 Toward a Sustainable Future: CRCL s Path Forward Decades of research have made it clear that we possess the scientific, technical and engineering capacity to restore sustainability to this landscape, and at the same time, provide sustainable protection to vulnerable coastal communities and urban population centers. What is most needed is a targeted strategy, a sense of urgency and a clear path forward. As part of CRCL s Strategic Plan, we have identified several key initiatives that form the foundation of our work ahead. Continuing our work to implement the Multiple Lines of Defense Strategy As Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike demonstrated, relying on levees alone is simply unsustainable. We can significantly increase our protection if we also restore our coastal landscape and build more resilient communities. Federal, state and local governments have all recognized the need to integrate natural landscape features with man-made storm protection structures to reduce the risk of flooding in coastal communities. This endorsement has increased the importance of CRCL s work on the Multiple Lines of Defense Strategy. Working diligently to implement and expedite existing restoration projects CRCL has worked to move restoration and protection efforts forward by securing restoration funding, encouraging sustainable policies and pushing for comprehensive planning. Despite these accomplishments, it remains clear that the current project development process is ill-suited to respond to this crisis. CRCL has initiated a new path forward that engages multiple federal agencies with water resource missions and high-level leadership to expedite and coordinate coastal restoration efforts CRCL releases the No Time to Lose report and initiates a campaign to implement the Coast 2050 strategy. CRCL sponsors Coastal Summit 2001 where Gov. Foster vows to expand the restoration program.

11 CRCL s work has produced discernible momentum behind several key projects and it is imperative that we move forward with a strong sense of urgency and commitment. CRCL will continue to work closely with our state and federal partners to pursue and implement sediment diversions, shoreline stabilization projects, restoration of the MRGO ecosystem, and the Beneficial Use of Dredged Material as currently authorized priority projects. Streamlining project planning for efficiency and public acceptance Congress has already authorized many key restoration projects in Louisiana, but one of the largest obstacles is the slow pace of project development and implementation. CRCL has worked to facilitate the exchange of information in the early stages of project development by hosting public meetings, meeting with project managers, informing the public about project progress and meeting with stakeholders to help guide the overall planning process. Consistent with our work to streamline project planning, CRCL works to reengage communities with the landscape and inform citizens about the level of risk associated with living in a coastal environment. As we embrace the challenges of rebuilding wetlands and rebuilding levees we must take this critical opportunity to reshape attitudes that foster a sense of stewardship and responsibility. As this landscape disappears, it takes with it our communities, our culture, our economic security and our future Gov. Foster appoints CRCL Executive Director and four CRCL Board members to the Governor s Advisory Committee on Coastal Restoration. CRCL co-hosts White House visit to shape the Louisiana Coastal Area restoration plan.

12 Creating and advocating for policies that integrate coastal restoration with navigation and flood protection Decades of short-sighted decisions have stifled comprehensive and integrated efforts to restore one of the world s most extensive deltaic landscapes. For nearly a century we have managed the coast of Louisiana to control flooding and facilitate navigation. These endeavors will continue to be a part of our future, but it is critical that Louisiana and the nation make an equal commitment to restoration by integrating navigation and flood control with restoration priorities. Taking the lead on innovative multipleuse programs CRCL continues to promote new initiatives and innovative restoration strategies. Many of the current practices and projects in Louisiana could and should be adapted to continue their current function and maximize restoration synergies. We are evaluating flood control structures on the Mississippi River like the Bonnet Carré Spillway and the Old River Control Structure to take advantage of seasonal high flows to deliver sediment and freshwater into starving wetland areas. CRCL will continue to promote the beneficial use of material dredged from the Mississippi River and other navigation channels to create marsh and rebuild wetlands. We are also investigating the potential use of treated effluent as a source of freshwater nourishment for swamps and marshes that have been cut off from other sources of freshwater and sediment. These innovative approaches to current management practices present both real challenges and opportunities to restore our coastal landscape CRCL galvanizes national environmental support for restoration in Louisiana. CRCL advocacy efforts lead to Congressional authorization for closing the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.

13 Partnering with national and regional environmental organizations to maximize advocacy efforts For over 10 years, CRCL has worked closely with national environmental and conservation organizations to raise national awareness and stimulate action to reverse coastal land-loss in Louisiana. Working with CRCL, several national environmental and conservation organizations have focused their attention and tremendous capacity toward large-scale ecosystem restoration in coastal Louisiana. These partnerships are necessary in generating and maintaining a national commitment to restoring and protecting coastal Louisiana. CRCL will continue working to leverage these partnerships into national consensus to give Louisiana a strong voice in Washington, D.C. Continuing to grow our capacity to be an effective and sustainable organization To complement our work on protection and restoration efforts, CRCL recognizes the need to expand the capacity of our organization. Coastal protection and restoration efforts are vitally important not only to the citizens of Louisiana, but to the nation as well. CRCL will continue to engage the support of large and diverse constituencies to enhance our advocacy work at the state and national level. CRCL is committed to expanding our ability to serve as the only statewide organization dedicated to comprehensive restoration efforts CRCL supports state effort to reach oil and gas royalty sharing agreement with the federal government and allocate funds to restoration and protection efforts CRCL joins with national and local partners to host scientific workshops on the Army Corps of Engineers comprehensive report on hurricane protection.

14 The Future Depends on You: Share Our Commitment For over 20 years, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana has served as Louisiana s leading advocate for the restoration and protection of coastal Louisiana. We are very proud of the programs we have established and our history of success, but there is still much work to be done. Our work relies heavily on the support we receive from individuals and businesses from Louisiana and across the country. In order to continue our mission, we need your support. By making a contribution to CRCL you can help reverse the course of coastal land-loss and work with us to rebuild our coast and our future. Please act now. There has never been another time when your support could make more of a difference. By filling out the attached donor card and making a commitment to CRCL, you are taking a step toward a healthy, viable and sustainable coastal Louisiana Together with LPBF, CRCL releases Comprehensive Recommendations Supporting the Use of Multiple Lines of Defense Strategy to Sustain Coastal Louisiana. The White House establishes the Interagency Working Group on Gulf Coast Restoration in response to requests from CRCL and other national and local partners.

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16 Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana 6160 Perkins Road, Suite 225 Baton Rouge, Louisiana (225)

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