The Gulf Coast Post - February 2022

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Murialist Zac Maras puts the final touches on our Oyster Shell Recycling shed in St. Bernard Parish.

Highlights in the year ahead We just turned 34 years old, and with Mardi Gras right around the corner, we’re in the mood to celebrate. We have accomplished a lot, but we have a huge year ahead of us. We are glad to have you with us on this journey. We hope you will join us! In just a few weeks, we’ll be gathering in person for our annual Shell-A-Bration, a party that benefits our Oyster Shell Recycling Program. We’ll have music by Lost Bayou Ramblers, food including oysters from OSRP partner restaurants and plenty of cold beer. We’ll also be gathering soon to recognize the heroes of Hurricanes Laura and Ida and others during our annual Stewardship Awards, among the most prestigious honors in coastal restoration. The event will be May 12 at the LSU Botanic Gardens in Baton Rouge. Our state is about to embark upon some of the most important restoration projects in history. Louisiana has committed well over $1 billion to coastal restoration this year. There is no shortage of invigorating work ahead. At CRCL, we are continuing to drive bold, science-based action to sustain a dynamic coastal Louisiana through engagement and advocacy. Whether you've been with us every step of the way or have just joined, we appreciate YOU being a part of CRCL in 2022.

2021 Year in Review Want to hear more about our 2021 accomplishments and about what’s on the horizon for 2022? We’ve created this handy summary. Read, enjoy -- and help us reach others by sharing on your favorite social media platforms! Speaking of socials, we’re on TikTok! Follow us on all our social media accounts for the latest coastal news, informative policy and advocacy content, fun videos, and program updates @crcl1988.

Make your voice heard! CPRA has released its draft Annual Plan for coastal restoration spending in the coming fiscal year. The plan proposes $1.3 billion for 114 projects, the largest investment in coastal restoration in Louisiana history. We urge you to submit comments on the plan – let CPRA what is important to you – or simply that you support this level of investment and you’re eager to see project moving even faster. You can read more about the annual plan here. Send an email to The deadline is Saturday.

Happy birthday to us Last month was our 34th birthday. You can help us celebrate by supporting our restoration programs. We put together this handy wishlist! This is your opportunity to purchase supplies we use in our boots-on-theground operations. Check out our Restoration Wish List here. .

Shell-A-Brate the season Shell-A-Bration is a community event dedicated to raising awareness and engagement for our Oyster Shell Recycling Program, through which we partner with restaurants and other organizations to divert oyster shells from the landfill and put them back in Louisiana waters. Launched in June 2014, this program has become one of the largest shell recycling programs in the nation. Shell-A-Bration brings together our restaurant partners, sponsors, community members and stakeholders for a night of celebrating coastal restoration. We have collected over 10 million pounds of shell from 31 local restaurants to build three oyster reefs, and we are working on deploying our fifth reef this summer. The night will include music from the Grammy Award-winning Lost Bayou Ramblers, oysters, food, drinks, a raffle and a silent auction. There will be a kids crafting space, and kids 12 years old and younger get in free! Get your tickets here.

Get your company involved Our new edition of our Stewardship Guide has been published online. This is a tool we created to help explore the ways companies and other organizations can support our work through event sponsorship, team-building volunteer opportunities and fun ideas like happy hours. We would love to get this publication into the hands of more people in the business community across south Louisiana, so if you know company executives (or if you are one yourself) or others looking to get their teams involved in coastal restoration, please share our guide.

Training the next generation of coastal leaders Future Coastal Leaders The Future Coastal Leaders Program works with high schoolers to connect them to the field of coastal restoration and instill environmental stewardship in the hearts and minds of youth today for a better future for our coast. The program offers a mixture of virtual education and in-person experiential learning opportunities such as field trips, volunteer events, and more. The Spring 2022 program is underway now! More information may be found on our website and brochure.

Student Ambassadors The Student Ambassador Program works with college-aged young adults to teach them about the challenges facing our coast and encourage them to become engaged coastal stewards through experiential learning, career readiness, networking, and advocacy. Virtual meetings occur biweekly with a new cohort each semester. We’ll be sharing updates on our spring semester very soon but, in the meantime, more information may be found on our website.

Drop off your oyster shells to help save our coast We have partnered with two community organizations, Glass Half Full and The Green Project, to offer two new public oyster shell recycling drop-off sites in New Orleans. This is the first opportunity for the public to directly contribute to the OSRP in this way. Anyone who shucking oysters in New Orleans can ensure this valuable resource returns to the water to provide more oyster habitat. Be sure to separate any trash/bags and dump just shell in the purple recycling bins. Hours and days of operation are as follows:

3935 Louisa Street New Orleans, LA ​ Drop-off hours: Mondays 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

More restaurants are recycling oysters For the tastiest way to get involved in coastal restoration, stay up-todate on our OSRP partner restaurants and plan your next night out accordingly! Be sure to let our partners know you (and we) appreciate their commitment to protecting and restoring our coast. Their participation is what makes this program a success! Shout out to our top collectors in 2021: Superior Seafood with 93,325 pounds of shell collected, Peche with 39,325 pounds, Dragos-Hilton with 34,000 pounds, Elysian Seafood with 30,175 pounds, and New Orleans Creole Cookery with 26,250 pounds of shell collected. In total, we recycled 345,625 pounds of shell in 2021 thanks to all of our restaurant partners.

A mountain of shell in St. Bernard Our Violet site is rapidly becoming much more than a pile of oyster shells. We’ve had a concrete pad poured, installed interactive signage that explains why coastal restoration is important, and we’ve begun hosting bagging events out there. There’s a storage shed that we are already putting to good use, and a muralist just turned it into an amazing piece of art.

2831 Marais St New Orleans, LA ​ Drop-off hours: Wednesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. .

Let’s get muddy together CWU C.R.U.S.H. planting March 18-19 In March, we will return to Central Wetlands Unit to plant 500 more native trees! The C.R.U.S.H. Project, or Communities Restoring Urban Swamp Habitat, plants trees along Lake Maurepas and in the Central Wetlands Unit in St. Bernard Parish. With support from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Lower 9th Center for Sustainable Engagement & Development, Entergy, Apache and Pontchartrain Conservancy, this project will help restore and sustain the quality of wetlands within the Pontchartrain Basin watershed and facilitate conversations about coastal restoration with local stakeholder communities. Join us for an exciting day in the marsh to protect and restore our precious coast! See all of our upcoming events and register here! April 1- public shell bagging Come out to our new shell recycling and engagement site and help us bag shell that will be used in our next reef deployment! April 23 Plaquemines Deployment/ Buras Clean up We’re gearing up to deploy our FIFTH oyster reef, and we want you to join! This is a major project and an exciting milestone. We’ll be using the shell collected from our partner restaurants and community drop-offs to build more living shoreline protection.

CRCL is Growing We have a new member of the CRCL family! Emma Butler is our new Outreach Coordinator. Emma is a Tulane University alumna with a bachelor’s degree in political science and environmental studies who is committed to public service, environmental stewardship and a sustainable future for the state of Louisiana. During her time at Tulane, Emma learned about the unique environmental factors that influence the state and its residents, including issues of flooding and subsidence. Her studies combined with her interest in public service fueled her decision to continue working to address these environmental challenges with local communities. She completed two years of AmeriCorps service and worked on urban stormwater management before joining CRCL. Outside of the office, Emma can be found with a book in her hand and a cat in her lap. ( Emma will be helping to facilitate our outreach within the MRD. We are hiring. Earlier this month, we published our advocacy director job posting. This is a key role on our team, and we would love your help spreading the word. From the position description: The advocacy director will engage with local, state and federal partners to advance coastal restoration. The advocacy director will report directly to the executive director and will operate as a senior strategic player in the pursuit of CRCL’s mission and will work closely with coalition partners at Restore the Mississippi River Delta on a coordinated effort to advance large-scale ecosystem restoration. Please consider sharing the job opening far and wide, and apply if you think it’s for you.

Bringing Coastal Issues to D.C. CRCL had the honor of being a part of this year’s Washington Mardi Gras festivities! Kim Reyher, our executive director; Board Chairman Garvin Pittman; Board members Randy Smith and Terrence Lockett; and former Board member Robin Keegan represented our organization at one event. Kim and Garvin accepted a large alligatorshaped check for $100,000 from Cheniere Energy to support our youth leadership development programs during a meeting of the Committee of 100 of Louisiana, a group of influential business leaders. Gov. John Bel Edwards gave positive and encouraging remarks about our work as part of the presentation. The funding from Cheniere will fuel our Future Coastal Leaders and Student Ambassador programs for the next two years. Future Coastal Leaders, which started last year, graduated 15 students from the first iteration of the program. The Student Ambassador program has had 49 students from 24 different colleges and universities graduate since 2019. We are excited to see how this support will help to enhance our student engagement initiatives. Kim and Garvin also accepted a check for $50,000 at the annual Washington Mardi Gras economic development lunch, presented by Rep. Garret Graves, the 2022 Washington Mardi Gras chairman who is establishing the new tradition of having a philanthropic beneficiary of the luncheon. CRCL was honored to be selected as the first beneficiary. During the luncheon, we aired our new promotional video and shared the newest edition of our Stewardship Guide, and we also reconnected with many friends of CRCL and made great new ones.

Thank You to Our End-of-Year Donors We got creative with our end-of-the-year fundraising drive in 2021, giving people the opportunity to contribute to Louisiana's coastal efforts and have their name, or the name of a loved one, permanently inscribed on a shell that will be used to build our next reef. In total, thanks to everyone who took part, we raised $50,736 for our EOY appeal by 178 donors. Every dollar raised will go to support our efforts in restoring and protecting coastal Louisiana. Stay up-to-date and get involved in CRCL’s work by signing up for our mailing list! And please consider contributing to our work.






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