The Vanishing Paradise program is working to engage hunters and anglers in the fight to restore the Gulf coast.
Vanishing Paradise is a grassroots advocate for the restoration of the Mississippi River Delta created by a partnership amongst the National Wildlife Federation and Ducks Unlimited. Since the BP Oil spill in 2010, they have become a strong advocate for restoring the habitat along the southern coastal waters that have been affected by this tragic disaster.
The coastal region of Louisiana and the Mississippi River Delta is known as a sportsman paradise, providing some of the nation’s best inshore and offshore fishing as well as the most prolific site of annual waterfowl migrations. Well over ten million ducks and geese move throughout the central flyway every year.
Why does this matter to us as sportsmen? The outdoor recreation dollars associated with these coastal lands account for well over a billion dollars annually, and over 40% of the nation’s wetlands resign in Louisiana alone. These wetlands are paramount to the future of our waterfowl reproduction and sustaining the current numbers of migratory birds. If the economic impact alone on coastal business is not enough to get engaged, then just consider the thought of reduced waterfowl limits and the loss of the best redfish and speckled trout fisheries in the U.S.
Restoring the delta, managing the Restore Act funds to ensure they are properly used, and overseeing that the conservation efforts are in the best interest of the coastal areas, but it is no small task. Steve Bender of National Wildlife Federation, along with his team of extremely talented individuals, is spearheading this movement. Steve has been a long time employee of NWF and over the past few years has transitioned a majority of his time to the efforts of this daunting, yet extremely important, task that affects all of us.
“The Vanishing Paradise program is working to engage hunters and anglers in the fight to restore the Gulf coast. That means sportsmen and women in Gulf States as well as those that have a connection to the Gulf through the central and Mississippi flyways and the ducks that trek back and forth each fall and spring,” Bender said.
“This year is the fifth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” he continued. “While the spill was a tragedy for both the men on the rig and the Gulf States, the silver lining is that 80% of the Clean Water Act funds paid by BP will go to Gulf States [through the RESTORE Act] and we need sportsmen and women to get engaged and make sure that these dollars go toward coastal restoration.”
Make a Difference
Currently over 800 sportsmen, groups and businesses have signed Vanishing Paradise’s letter in support of restoring the Mississippi River Delta. You, too, can join this list.
This collaborative effort is going to take several years of hard work amongst many groups to help secure this crucial habitat for future generations to enjoy. Saving these wetlands is not a venture that can move slowly, as we are currently losing a football field’s worth of wetlands every hour.
If you have not yet heard of Vanishing Paradise and its contributions, I suggest you check them out and learn how you can help prevent the sportsmen paradise from vanishing.