Restore the Earth will integrate the reforestation of 3,000 acres with an innovative freshwater diversion to restore and sustain critical wetlands to enhance and protect over 200,000 residents.
Houma, Louisiana. – December 4, 2019 – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have announced that Restore the Earth Foundation’s project, a Green-Gray Approach to Gulf Coast Resiliency, is the recipient of a $2 million grant from this year’s National Coastal Resilience Fund.
The $2 million grant will be matched with private and public funding from Coca-Cola Foundation, Dow, Entergy, Shell Pipeline, Citgo, Terrebonne Parish, Terrebonne Levee & Conservation District and others. The funding will restore 3,000 acres of a historic bald cypress forest at Pointe-aux-Chenes, Wildlife Management Area in Montegut, Louisiana, AND retrofit an existing Terrebonne Parish pump to provide for a fresh water diversion into the Pointe-aux-Chenes wetlands, which will deliver 10-15 billion gallons of fresh water, per year.
Restoration and protection in this area is of critical importance to coastal resiliency. The project site is the largest remaining contiguous land mass that protects Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes and adjacent Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw and United Houma Nation native tribes from the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This innovative green-gray restoration approach will strengthen natural systems to protect these coastal communities, support biodiversity, and enhance wildlife habitat, providing long term coastal resiliency.
Made possible with the engagement of a diverse group of private, public, and non-profit partners, this is a truly collaborative and big vision initiative. In addition to the private partners, other critical partners for this project include the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), Terrebonne Parish, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, and local businesses such as Associated Pump and Supply and Remont Engineering and Design.
The Pointe-aux-Chenes project is also a pilot for the State of Louisiana’s Water Quality Trading (WQT) Program. LDEQ developed a WQT program that is supported by state legislation and consistent with the Clean Water Act, and state and federal law.
“We are honored to be one of this year’s recipients for the National Coastal Resilience Fund,” said Taylor Marshall, Director of Sustainable Programs for Restore the Earth, “This project will restore and enhance a large portion of the true ‘working’ wetland environments along the Gulf Coast, while providing for the protection and resilience of increasingly vulnerable coastal communities.”
These coastal ecosystems are critical in protecting significant national and international economic assets such as energy, shipping, navigation, and seafood, while also supporting a variety of regional recreational activities, cultural values and longstanding heritage based practices – all unique and invaluable to coastal Louisiana.
Without large-scale projects like this one, utilizing natural and manufactured features to reduce storm surge and mitigate damage, there will be significant local, regional and national economic costs, including risks to food security, energy security and national security.
“This project is significant for the Parish and its residents. Once complete, this project will provide significant resilience for critical infrastructure, services and properties, buffering the impact of future storm and flood risk,” said Mart Black, Director of Coastal Restoration and Preservation for Terrebonne Parish. “Projects like these – large scale, visionary projects, with collaborative public-private partnerships and significant co-benefits – are increasingly necessary as they give us a fighting chance to restore and protect our vulnerable coast and the human and animal communities that live here.”
The “green” native tree planting for the reforestation will begin in the fall of 2020 and the “grey” pump retrofit is scheduled to be functioning in early 2020.
About Restore the Earth Foundation, Inc.
Restore the Earth Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not for profit with a mission of restoring the Earth’s essential forest and wetland ecosystems at a landscape scale. Restore the Earth knows that it is possible to go beyond just protecting our environment—it is possible to restore it. When you restore at a landscape scale, it creates incredible value for ecosystems, biodiversity, habitats, communities, business and the Earth.
Restore the Earth works together with partners to bring solid solutions to deliver successful restoration to meet strategic objectives. Its strong public/private partnerships support its longstanding and proven track record of successfully restoring natural systems on a large scale, creating environmental, social and economic value.
Restore the Earth Foundation’s innovative EcoMetrics platform, fully accounts, in monetized terms, for the environmental, social and economic co-benefits/value created by restoration. EcoMetrics is stakeholder based and scientifically driven. EcoMetrics reports are accredited by international standards, third party verified and ready for audit. EcoMetrics allows Restore the Earth’s funding partners to report back to stakeholders on the ROI and social return on investment (SROI) of their investment in environmental restoration with complete confidence.
For further information, please contact:
Restore the Earth Foundation
Director of Sustainable Programs