Hurricanes are Done for the Year — And the Coast Needs Our Help



Last night, I gleefully packed away my flashlight, battery-powered fan, camp stove, first aid kit, whistle and solar crank emergency weather radio. Because today blessedly marks the end of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

It was the most active season on record. A typical season produces 12 named storms, this season we’ve had 30 named storms, 13 hurricanes (six of which were major, including one Category 5). In Louisiana, we experienced five storm landfalls and New Orleans was in the cone of uncertainty eight times. Eight times!

Though we can relax a bit, the fight to save our coast continues. Joining this battle is the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL), a Restore the Mississippi River Delta coalition member.

Incorporated in 1988, CRCL represents a mix of businesses, local governments, industries, scientific communities, national and local conservation 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 organization 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.

The Gulf of Mexico is 10 miles closer to the city of Houma than it was a century ago. This also means it’s getting closer to New Orleans as well.

“The state of Louisiana is fading before our eyes,” says James Karst, CRCL director of communications and marketing. “It reminds me of the scene from the movie ‘Back to the Future’ when the protagonist is looking at a photograph of himself and his siblings, and if he doesn’t take corrective action they’ll simply vanish.”

Karst believes if we do nothing this march of open water toward populated areas will continue.

“Our fisheries would be wiped out,” he says. “Migratory and nesting birds would have no choice but to find new habitat. More communities would have to be relocated. Bayou communities would vanish or be absorbed into other communities. Inland cities and towns would face more frequent and stronger hurricanes because we would be losing a critical element of our storm defenses and billions of dollars in industrial infrastructure would become an Atlantis.”

In addition to its role as advocate and watchdog, CRCL also serves as responsible stewards of Louisiana’s rich coastal wetlands. The organization facilitates and funds such things as actual restoration projects, education and outreach programs, oyster shell recycling, and its Christmas tree recycling program has used more than 1 million trees to help rebuild our coast.

“Some of my best days at work are spent out on the water with volunteers who have an inherent optimism about helping to save our state,” says Karst.  “I also enjoy coastal flyovers with people who have never been on them before. Riding in a small float plane over the coast is an eye-opening experience, because not only do you see just how close the open water is to the coastal city of New Orleans, but also because you can see that some coastal restoration projects are building land.”


Mission: The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to drive bold, science-based action to sustain a dynamic coastal Louisiana through engagement and advocacy.


CRCL is planning a virtual Shell-a-bration event to spread the word about its Oyster Shell Recycling Program. Anyone who donate $1,000 or more to CRCL will receive a beautiful print from an image shot aboard a coastal flyover earlier this year donated by artist Marjorie Pierson.

CRCL also has plans to open an online store.

As a coalition, CRCL strikes interesting partnerships with all sorts of organizations and businesses, such as when it partnered this year with Urban South Brewery to create Shucks Y’all, a beer that promotes oyster shell recycling. Dirty Coast also recently printed a T-shirt promoting its work, with a significant portion of sales donated to coastal restoration efforts.


CRCL and MRD Successes:

10 million pounds of oyster shell have been recycled

3 oyster reefs have been built and 2 others are in development.

900,000 plants and 40,000 trees have been planted

4,000 acres of coastal wetlands and beach have been restored



3801 Canal Street, Suite 400, New Orleans, LA 70119

Phone: (225) 767-4181


How Readers and Businesses Can Help? 

Businesses can sponsor their own oyster shell pile or sponsor specific volunteer events such as tree or grass planting.

Volunteers can help in habitat restoration and, on occasion, oyster reef deployment. These volunteer events are great team-building exercises, and many of them involve fun boat rides.

Also, of course, you can donate to CRCL here




Categories: Labors of Love