Pontchartrain Conservancy, Valero Plant 500 Seedlings in St. Bernard Parish

Tree Planting Nov 11

NEW ORLEANS – Last week, Pontchartrain Conservancy partnered with Valero to plant 500 bald cypress, live oak and water tupelo seedlings in the Bayou Dupre central wetlands area of St. Bernard Parish. Pontchartrain Conservancy is a nonprofit that focuses on coastal sustainability, water quality and environmental education efforts.

Employees from Valero’s Meraux Refinery volunteered their time to assist Pontchartrain Conservancy staff in planting the seedlings across 2.5 acres just southeast of the refinery near Violet, Louisiana. These trees will help enhance the natural coastal wetland buffer and mitigate effects of storm surge.

“As many parts of our region continue to face increasing environmental threats and challenges, it is important for us to restore the wetlands that act as vital line of defense against damaging storm surge and winds,” said Pontchartrain Conservancy Executive Director Kristi Trail. “On average, every 2.7 miles of coastal wetlands can reduce storm surge by up to one foot. We’re extremely grateful to partner with Valero on this important restoration project.”

In January 2021, Valero Energy presented a check for $1 million to Pontchartrain Conservancy to fund a multi-year plan for local swamp restoration. Over the past 10 years, Valero has partnered with Pontchartrain Conservancy to provide both monetary support and volunteers to attend tree plantings hosted by the nonprofit organization. Collaborative efforts have included 80,000 trees planted and approximately 1,146 tCO2e sequestered annually. In addition, they have worked together to restore over 400 acres of habitat.

“Valero’s $1 million contribution to the Pontchartrain Conservancy is not only a financial investment but also a volunteer commitment to assist with local wetland restoration efforts,” said Leslie Sullivan, vice president and general manager of the Meraux refinery. “Valero has a longstanding partnership with Pontchartrain Conservancy and we were excited to have our Meraux employees participate in this tree planting project.”

The planting site was chosen based on Pontchartrain Conservancy’s scientific research and suitability studies. Pontchartrain Conservancy studied soil and water samples, vegetation growth rates, water levels and other factors in this area before determining the site as high suitability for new trees. 

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