Coastal Leaders Gather To Address Restoration Operations, Financing

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana's Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority (CPRA) and America's WETLAND Foundation (AWF) will host two leadership roundtables on Monday, October 24, and 25, 2016, at the Lod Cook Alumni Center on the LSU campus, bringing together a diverse group of coastal interests to focus on implementing and financing the state's coastal master plan.

         Johnny Bradberry, Board Chairman of the CPRA, said, "We envision these meetings as highly interactive discussions with a broad range of points of view. We will have elected officials, NGOs, community leaders, and scientists, as well as many economic interests represented in the room. I look forward to what I feel can be a very constructive and informative dialogue."

         "As we move to a larger scale of implementation, solutions come into sharper focus and we have a better understanding of what the future will hold for our ability to save this coastline," R. King Milling, chairman of AWF and the Governor's Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection, Restoration, and Conservations, said. "These discussions are appropriate and timely as we move closer to the next version of the master plan."

         "The roundtables will cover a wide range of issues that can impact the success of restoration efforts," Val Marmillion, managing director of the AWF, said. "With the next version of the state's Master Plan on the horizon, issues that effect economic and community interests, from sediment delivery from the Mississippi River to creative financing that encourages private sector investment, will be front and center in defining success as we go forward."

         Results from the two October leadership roundtables will frame the agenda for a summit on the "National Significance of Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan" to be held in Baton Rouge on Wednesday, December 7, event organizers said.

         Through the roundtables and summit, AWF will employ strategies used in its series of "Blue Ribbon Resilient Communities" forums and its World Delta Dialogues held in Mekong Delta of Vietnam, as a way to elevate the plight of coastal regions soon to feel the effects of sea level rise and subsiding deltas.

         Topics to be discussed at the roundtables include:


• Managing the River – Socio-Economic Considerations to Benefit Wetlands, Industry, Communities and Economies

• Operational Strategies for Sediment Diversions

• Reconciling Mitigation and Leveraging Ecosystem Services Valuing in Private Investment in Restoration

• Achieving Financial Stewardship and Return on Investment


         "We anticipate these roundtable discussions to be lively and provocative," Sidney Coffee, senior advisor to AWF, said, "with everyone from present and past governors to those representing the many, diverse users of our coastline. AWF always strives for balance and common sense as we tackle issues that can make a real difference in coastal restoration and we hope to achieve this in these events as well."

         The roundtables and coastal summit are being held in cooperation with the Coalition to Save Coastal Louisiana, Louisiana Sea Grant and Louisiana Offshore Terminal Authority and are made possible by the generosity of the following sponsors: Entergy, Shell, Chevron, Ducks Unlimited, and Louisiana Sea Grant.

         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, organization reps said. 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.

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