The Nature Conservancy supports today’s announcement of two regional restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico to protect turtles from stray lighting and nesting birds.
“The Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Process is working well when conservation projects like these are some of the first out of the gate,” said Janet Bowman, The Nature Conservancy’s director of legislative policy and strategies in Tallahassee.
After an oil spill or hazardous substance release, response agencies clean up the substance and eliminate or reduce risks to human health and the environment. But these efforts may not fully restore injured natural resources or address their lost uses by the public. Through the NRDA process, the extent of resource injuries are identified as are the best methods for restoring those resources, and the type and amount of restoration required. The Nature Conservancy has been working within this process since the spill, and has submitted restoration projects.
Understanding the complexity of Gulf systems isn’t easy, and we commend the timely implementation of these habitat restoration projects,” said Bowman. “In addition, investing in natural infrastructure in the Gulf is a cost-effective first line of defense against storms.”
The Gulf of Mexico pumps $234 billion every year into the American economy and supports more than 20 million jobs, from supplying food to energy production to recreation, transportation and tourism. The Gulf’s lands and waters tell a story of hope and abundance:
• Produce 1.3 billion pounds of seafood annually – with a dockside value of $661 million – that’s more finfish, shrimp and shellfish than the entire U.S. Atlantic seaboard fisheries combined.
• Support the only remaining wild oyster harvest in the world.
• Attract more than 24 million recreational fishing trips annually, 28 percent of the U.S. total.
• Provide more than 600,000 jobs and $9 billion in wages annually in tourism and recreation.
• Produce half of the nation’s domestic oil and gas, and seven of the 15 largest ports in the nation are here.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.