Preserving Our Precious Gulf Coast Wetlands

02/08/2022

Ducks Unlimited is preserving nearly 20,000 acres of Louisiana wetlands, thanks to a $1.1 million donation from The James M. Cox Foundation. This investment in 2020 has allowed Ducks Unlimited (DU) to fully fund several projects along the Mississippi Delta, as well as providing the “last dollars in” required to complete two additional projects.

You can learn more about the work DU is doing by watching these videos on their South Pass, Bay Denesse and Golden Meadow projects.

Louisiana has lost more than a third of its coastal wetland. It has the highest rate of wetland loss in the U.S. and without intervention is expected to lose an additional 1.4 million acres over the next 50 years. The Foundation’s grant is helping DU restore marsh through terracing, a technique used to create new land in the degraded area. In total, DU plans to invest more than $22 million in projects representing 133,000 acres across coastal Texas and Louisiana.

This commitment to protect our wetlands is close to the heart of Jim Kennedy, the Foundation chairman. He has been a volunteer with Ducks Unlimited for more than 50 years, has served on its board of directors and is a trustee and founding president of Wetlands America Trust (WAT). WAT provides specialized financial and philanthropic support to Ducks Unlimited. A passionate conservationist and philanthropist, Jim is the single largest donor to Ducks Unlimited.

Key Projects Are Turning the Tide

  • Mississippi River Delta Crevasses Project: DU is nearly finished with this project to restore 1,730 acres in the Bird’s Foot Delta near the mouth of the Mississippi River, about 80 miles southeast of New Orleans. The marshes created by the Cox Foundation-supported project will help improve water quality, decrease erosion, counteract impacts of relative sea level rise, serve as storm surge buffers, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and provide recreational and commercial opportunities for the public.
  • White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA): The WCA provides important marsh habitat for a variety of species, including the state’s reintroduced whooping cranes and security from flooding for the Vermillion Parish communities north of it. Cox funding will support installation of a new water control structure in the 16,000-acre Hunting Marsh Unit to reduce flooding stress to benefit plants and better manage the habitat for waterfowl, whooping cranes and other migratory birds. The project is scheduled to be completed early this year.
  • Meraux Foundation Terracing Project: This project provides community protection, carbon sequestration and wildlife habitat near Chalmette in St. Bernard Parish, just 7 miles east of New Orleans. With the funding from the Cox Foundation, DU will be able to enhance 200 acres of marsh through construction and planting of approximately 28,000 linear feet of earthen terraces by winter 2022.
  • Delacroix Marsh/40 Arpent Canal Project: Once complete, this project will return open water to more than 1,500 acres of productive habitat to benefit wildlife, as well as help protect the people living in the region from the physical and economic impacts of flooding from hurricanes and storm events.

With the funding from the Cox Foundation, DU is also now able to move forward with two additional projects. The first, Bay Denesses, will restore 2,550 acres of coastal marsh, much of which is open to the public for fishing, hunting and other recreation. The second is the Freshwater Bayou Shorelines Project to reduce erosion along 3,900 acres of Gulf Coast shoreline.

The James M. Cox Foundation provides funding for capital campaigns and special projects in communities where our company operates. Cox Communications Southeast supports the Ducks Unlimited conservation and restoration projects, and Louisiana Cox employees can volunteer as the projects continue moving forward.

 

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