National Wildlife Federation: Restoring the Gulf of Mexico for People and Wildlife: Recommended Projects and Priorities (2014)
[Some of the inland projects do make sense, such as dealing with the water flow into the Everglades. But the coastal projects all seem to be short-term attempts to hold back the ocean, rather than to anticipate the future. For example, rather than try to build barriers to stop embayment, you could buy land on the inland side of the enlarging bay to be future nature preserves. This approach does environmental harm and diverts funds from projects that could assure longer term environmental protection.]
From the NWF:
“The National Wildlife Federation has a long history of advocacy in the Gulf of Mexico region. In 2000, our four million members and supporters were instrumental in securing Congressional support for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. For more than a decade we have worked to ensure that Texas bays have the fresh water they need to support healthy fish and wildlife populations. And since well before Hurricane Katrina, we have championed the restoration of Louisiana’s disappearing coastal wetlands.
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill focused the world’s attention on the Gulf of Mexico, and in particular, on its natural resource value. In addition to causing the tragic deaths of 11 men, the 87-day disaster closed vast areas of the Gulf to fishing, killed and injured marine mammals, shorebirds, sea turtles, and other wildlife and damaged the Gulf’s delicate web of life in ways that are still unfolding. The spill also drew attention to the longstanding conservation and restoration needs of a Gulf ecosystem that supports much of the region’s economy but has been overworked and under-protected.
The National Wildlife Federation and our state affiliates, together representing millions of sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts, actively supported the 2012 RESTORE Act, which sends 80 percent of the civil penalties arising from the 2010 oil spill back to the Gulf for restoration and recovery. With the passage of this groundbreaking legislation, Congress sent a message that the historic neglect of the Gulf Coast’s natural systems must be remedied.
Now, as the Gulf region recovers from the largest oil spill in U.S. history, state and federal leaders have an opportunity to invest in the long-term health and resiliency of its coastal lands and waters. The National Wildlife Federation believes that the highest return on this investment will come from efforts to restore and protect Gulf estuaries. These coastal waters are among the most productive natural habitats in the world. Estuaries serve as spawning, nursery, and feeding grounds for nearly all of the Gulf’s commercial and recreational