Audubon’s Brian Moore Comments on President Obama’s Budget Requests for Coastal Louisiana Restoration

Source: National Audobon Society

President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget released Feb. 1 asked Congress to fund coastal wetlands restoration in Louisiana, the first time a presidential budget has included this request. The president’s budget for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides $35.6 million for Gulf Coast restoration, including $19 million for wetlands construction projects and $16.6 million for wetlands pre-construction studies. The budget for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides $5 million for Gulf Coast restoration.“We applaud President Obama for including funds to restore Louisiana’s coastal wetlands in his fiscal year 2011 budget. These wetlands are vitally important for birds and other wildlife, for human well-being, and for our national economy, and we all stand to gain from swift, decisive action to halt their alarming and rapid disappearance.

“Audubon staff in Washington, D.C., and in Louisiana – and our partners at Environmental Defense Fund and National Wildlife Federation – have been working closely with key administrative officials at all levels of government to secure a strong federal investment in Louisiana coastal wetlands restoration. This year, we feel that we’ve been successful because for the first time, the president has asked Congress to fund authorized restoration programs and further scientific analysis in coastal Louisiana.

“The president’s request is one of only two new starts included in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget, which experienced a 10 percent decrease overall. Though the request is relatively small, it sets an important precedent and is a crucial first step toward saving and restoring one of our nation’s largest and most important wetland ecosystems.

“Audubon and its grassroots network will continue working diligently to ensure that Congress authorizes the president’s requests and that, in time, federal investment in coastal Louisiana reaches a level on par with that in other large ecosystems like the Great Lakes and the Everglades.”