50 Billion Reasons To Attend ‘Restoration On The Half Shell’
This is the construction of the first oyster reef made entirely with oyster shell collected by CRCL’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program. The reef was installed in 2016 in Biloxi Marsh (St. Bernard Parish), specifically along the shore of Lake Athanasio. This site was selected because it is experiencing particularly high rates of shoreline erosion and is also prime oyster habitat. The reef was constructed through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy and funded by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. It consists of 434 Gabion baskets and filled with 1.7 million pounds of reclaimed oyster shell, stretching approximately a half-mile along the shore.
Land loss is big business.
More than 1.2 million acres of land have disappeared in Louisiana since the 1930s due to shoreline and coastal erosion.
According to Restore the Mississippi River Delta, Louisiana continues to lose a football field of land every 100 minutes, and the state is projected to lose an additional 4,000 square miles over the next 50 years.
Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s Coastal Master Plan is a $50 billion investment designed to build and maintain land, reduce flood risk to communities and provide habitats to support ecosystems. Reps say it includes 124 projects in the state that build or maintain more than 800 square miles of land and reduce expected damage by $8.3 billion annually by year 50, which equates to more than $150 billion over the next 50 years, and are expected to pay for themselves three times over the course of implementing the plan.
This week more than 1,000 local scientists, engineers, politicians, coastal business owners, wildlife advocates and educators are attending the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana’s (CRCL) State of the Coast 2018 conference in partnership with Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the Water Institute of the Gulf to network, share ideas, create partnerships, learn new information and renew personal interest and energy to restoring coastal Louisiana.
This fifth biennial State of the Coast, from Wednesday, May 30 through Friday, June 1, offers presentations by leading experts in concurrent sessions, keynote presentations, poster sessions and networking opportunities that focus on how to reverse this land loss trend and restore Louisiana’s coast.
But, if you’re a non-technical person or a concerned citizen who wants to learn more about Louisiana’s coastal problems and get involved, Restoration on the Half Shell is an interactive mini-conference tailored to the public that takes place Friday, June 1, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, as part of State of the Coast 2018. Registration and breakfast begin at 8:00 a.m.
Attendees will be encouraged to ask questions, give their opinions and take action.
Restoration on the Half Shell, sponsored by Chevron, Entergy and the McKnight Foundation, will include presentations about Louisiana’s land loss crisis, coastal restoration, flood risk reduction and possible solutions. There will be a panel discussion addressing the challenges of living and working in coastal Louisiana, and Restore the Mississippi River Delta will provide a sneak peek of its 360-degree immersive video “Coast 360: A Virtual Day in the Delta.”
Viewers will visit one of the areas of Louisiana’s coast actually gaining land, an active barrier island restoration project and a coastal community on the forefront of Louisiana’s land loss crisis.
“While everyone can't go on a coastal flyover, we are using creativity and technology to replicate that bird’s eye view experience,” said Steve Cochran, campaign director for Restore the Mississippi River Delta. “We want people to be able to understand and act on coastal land loss, so anything we can do to help people see it up close and personal really helps. Tools like Coast 360 are not just the wave of the future — they are key to telling the story of what the broad term ‘coastal restoration’ truly means.”
Reps with Restore the Mississippi River Delta, a coalition of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, the National Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Federation, said Restoration on the Half Shell provides an opportunity to inform coastal residents and position them as important stakeholders in their own future.
Restore the Mississippi River Delta’s mission supports the opportunity to reduce land loss and restore and protect the coast by using a combination of restoration projects outlined in Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan including sediment diversions – a structure of gates built into the levee system to allow river water, sediment and nutrients to flow from the river into degrading wetlands – to build and sustain land.
“The coast of the future will not look like the coast of today,” said Cochran. “However, if we act with urgency and use the resources at our disposal wisely, we can have a sustainable, protective delta.”
The Restoration on the Half Shell mini-conference includes:
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Registration and Continental Breakfast – Exhibit Hall
9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Session I – Rivergate Room
• A Strategy To Combat Our Land Loss Problems
Alisha Renfro, National Wildlife Federation
• Louisiana’s Master Plan And Its Implementation
Bren Haase, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
• Planning For The Next Generation’s Coast And Community
Corey Miller, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Morning Break, Refreshments and Student Awards – Exhibit Hall
11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Session II – Rivergate Room
• How You Can Engage And Take Action
Colette Pichon Battle, Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion – Rivergate Room
Carol Bebelle, Ashé Cultural Arts Center
Chief Thomas Dardar, Jr., United Houma Nation Tribe
Jonathan Foret, Wetlands Discovery Center
Ryan Lambert, Cajun Fishing Adventures, Inc.
Denese Shervington, The Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies
Founded in 1988, CRCL is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization and the longest standing statewide organization supporting science-based action to rebuild Coastal Louisiana through outreach, restoration and advocacy.