The Nature Conservancy in the Gulf of Mexico
The Nature Conservancy has been protecting the natural character of the Gulf of Mexico for more than 40 years. We have been saving critical habitat through land acquisition, pioneering on-the-ground and in-the-water restoration projects, and advocating policies to achieve large-scale conservation in each of the Gulf states. At this pivotal time in the Gulf's history, with the nation's attention focused on how the Gulf will recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we are using our science and policy expertise to protect the land and the people of the Gulf.
The Nature Conservancy's Gulf of Mexico Program is a partnership among our five Gulf State Chapters to accomplish conservation across the entire Gulf ecosystem. The Gulf Program employs conservation professionals who work as part of a team with their colleagues in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas to restore and protect natural systems and natural areas across political boundaries. The Gulf Program works also with The Nature Conservancy's global and U.S. science and advocacy programs to restore the Gulf. And we work with TNC state chapters up the Mississippi to reduce the flow of nutrients into the Gulf's waters.
Today, we are conserving the Gulf through three distinct strategies:
We are restoring shorelines: The Conservancy is working with federal, state, and local governments to demonstrate the value and effectiveness of shoreline restoration to reduce risks from storms and floods while improving fish and wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. We are strengthening shorelines and demonstrating that restoration is a cost effective way to reduce vulnerability to storms while also creating important habitat for the Gulf's species.
We are protecting freshwater resources: Sixty percent of the land in the United States drains into the Gulf of Mexico. To ensure the future of clean freshwater flows, we are helping farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to bring back natural areas to reduce the flow of nutrients into rivers and streams.
We are helping communities benefit from Gulf restoration: The Nature Conservancy is committed to ensuring that local communities benefit from restoration jobs, are more resilient to storms and floods, and are able to maintain traditional cultural connections between people and the Gulf. Gulf restoration done right will create jobs, strengthen community resilience, and contribute to long-term economic renewal by sustaining tourism and improving critical nursery areas important to the Gulf's recreational and commercial fisheries.
The Nature Conservancy is committed to a long future in the Gulf. We will continue to advocate for the wise and cost-effective expenditure of funds for Gulf restoration and conservation. We will pioneer innovative on-the-ground and in-the-water restoration projects like construction of bird-nesting islands in Texas Bays, workshops with local communities to make them more resilient to the impacts of tropical storms, acquisition of additions to threatened National Wildlife refuges. We will create new jobs for youth to monitor the condition of rivers on the Mississippi coast, and we will continue to cooperate with the Conservancy's Chapters in such states as Iowa, Indiana and Illinois to reduce the flow of damaging nutrients into the Mississippi River and the Gulf.
To accomplish these projects we will expand our partnerships with Gulf businesses, research institutions and community organizations to ensure that restoration of the Gulf brings with it economic and cultural benefits for a region that has seen more than its share of hard times.
This is an exciting time on the Gulf coast, an opportunity for the donors and supporters of The Nature Conservancy and other non-profit organizations to be part of a once-in-a-life time restoration of what our science is increasingly telling us is one of Earth's most exceptional natural places—our own Gulf of Mexico.