The America’s Wetland Foundation, a private-public education group, released its six year progress report last week that both highlights successes and remaining challenges in the fight to save Louisiana’s vanishing coast. “While this report shows we have made many important achievements, we cannot rest upon our laurels,” says R. King Milling, chairman of the AWF Board. “There is much more that needs to be done to continue asserting the urgent need for restoration of this valuable landscape, which is so critically important to us and to the nation.”
The report shows that, as a result of AWF’s campaign to raise awareness, there is more public support for coastal protection and restoration efforts now than ever before. Launched in 2002, key milestones include reaching audiences and viewers totaling more than a billion media impressions over six years. AWF has also built an extensive grassroots network, which includes thousands of citizens, more than 200 state and national “Cooperating Organizations”, and more than 50 corporate sponsors.
The most exciting days, though, are still ahead. "This progress report suggests a future for a growing national foundation based in Louisiana that will continue driving the national dialogue about saving coastal Louisiana while, at the same time broadening the mission to serve as a voice for the entire region of Gulf energy producing states,” says Val Marmillion, the foundation’s managing director.
Marmillion says the next phase of the campaign seeks to continue raising awareness about the national imperative to save Louisiana’s coast. Known as “America’s Energy Coast,” this developing initiative brings together leaders of academia, industry, conservation, government and non-profit agencies from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama. The underlying goal is to establish policies and best practices to protect the Gulf Coast and the benefits it delivers to the rest of the country. The unlikely coalition also includes Shell, the National Wildlife Federation, National Rifle Association, Ducks Unlimited, Entergy and many others