(BATON ROUGE, LA) – The James M. Cox Foundation has announced a $1.1million grant to support wetlands conservation efforts along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. The planned project will include the construction of terracing and restoring the flow of sediment-rich water to degraded marshland through channels cut in natural levees. This will help build new land. The project will also help with manage water levels in White Lake Wetlands to prevent flooding and create a safer environment for migratory birds.
Ducks Unlimited and the James M. Cox Foundation have a shared commitment to environmental stewardship and focus on giving back to the communities where their team members work and live. Cox has 1,200 employees who work in Louisiana.
“I was always taught that you leave the world better than you found it, and that’s why I have chosen to help Ducks Unlimited any way I can,” Jim Kennedy, Cox Enterprises Chairman and former Wetlands America Trust President said. “Ducks Unlimited’s conservation work on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast not only benefits the waterfowl and wildlife that thrive in the landscape, but also helps support the communities surrounding this critical habitat.”
The coastal prairies, marshes and bays of the Gulf of Mexico are among North America’s most productive wetland systems. Tragically, they are also among the most threatened, with more than 90% of coastal wetland loss in the lower 48 states occurring here. Kennedy’s gift to Ducks Unlimited’s Gulf Coast Initiative will enable DU to conduct crucial conservation work along the coast, in addition to promoting science, public policy and outreach efforts. Conservation work under the Gulf Coast Initiative primarily focuses on the restoration and enhancement of high-quality coastal marsh and rice prairie wetland complexes. To date, more than 130,000 acres have been improved through the initiative.
More than 2-million people live, work and play in coastal Louisiana. Louisiana’s working coast sends more than $120billion in goods and services to the rest of the U.S. and exports $36.2billion internationally. The coast also supports infrastructure that supplies 90% of the nation’s outer continental shelf oil and gas.
Anthony Pope, senior vice president and region manager for Cox’s Southeast Region, said, “This is a significant project because Louisiana loses 17 square miles of coast each year – more than any other state in the country. Coastal conservation in Louisiana is of national importance, and my team and I are grateful to the James M. Cox Foundation for their support of Ducks Unlimited’s work here in Louisiana.”