LA - Wetlands advocacy group disbands after nearly 2 decades

One of the most visible groups in the fight to restore and protect Louisiana’s vanishing coastal wetlands said today that it is ceasing operations.

The America’s Wetland Foundation worked nearly two decades on policy issues and projects addressing the issue.

“The task was to mobilize Louisiana citizens and elevate this issue to a top priority, and this was accomplished tenfold,” said foundation board Chairman King Milling, who is also chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection and Restoration.

The foundation was created in 2002 in response to then-Governor Mike Foster’s call to action. Recommendations by a state task force on the need to broaden public awareness of the land loss crisis in Louisiana and support good public policy to address it led America’s Wetland to develop the Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana.

Its awareness campaign helped embed the fact that Louisiana was “losing a football field of land each hour” into the public vernacular. The group has received more than 60 national and international awards for public awareness, partnerships, media, communications, print, broadcast and electronic advertising that took the message to Washington and around the world.

“Once Hurricane Katrina hit, the foundation had established coastal wetland loss in the media’s mind,” said Sidney Coffee, then director of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and later senior adviser to the foundation. “The value of coastal wetlands became part of the story when before AWF’s ongoing campaign, the relationship of healthy wetlands to community resiliency was pretty much unknown.”

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