BATON ROUGE – An award of approximately $250,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has been granted to the National Audubon Society (Audubon) Louisiana state office to partner with Bertucci Contracting Corp. (Bertucci) on a marsh restoration project in southwest Louisiana. Audubon and Bertucci will provide matching funds to the NFWF’s Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program through cash and in-kind donations to support the project. 

“This partnership will benefit birds and other wildlife,” said Doug Meffert, Executive Director of Audubon Louisiana and Vice President of the National Audubon Society, “while also serving as a demonstration project to increase landowner participation and investment in coastal restoration.”  

Building upon prior work, Audubon’s Paul J. Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary in Vermilion Parish will benefit from a new state-of-the-art small commercial dredge – the Amphibex 400 recently acquired by

Bertucci – that will be used onsite to restore five to 10 acres of marsh. The project will create new marsh in areas damaged by Hurricanes Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008. Construction is slated to begin on Oct. 1, 2015 and will bring wide-ranging habitat and wildlife benefits for over 200 acres of marsh surrounding the project area.

This demonstration project will serve as an important model for landowners across coastal Louisiana in need of new small-scale marsh creation techniques that may offer affordable solutions to land loss problems plaguing Louisiana’s coast. Audubon has been a Louisiana landowner since 1924, and through this new partnership with Bertucci, the opportunity will be presented to many Louisiana landowners to better understand available dredge technology. More than 85 percent of Louisiana's 10-million-acre coastal zone is privately owned.

NFWF’s Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program is a new competitive grants program that supports priority conservation needs of the Gulf that are not otherwise expected to be funded under Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund or other funding opportunities associated with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The program will support a wide range of conservation efforts, including the enhancement of 8,600 acres of waterfowl habitat in Louisiana and many projects throughout the Gulf states. Visit NFWF.org for a complete list of new projects awarded funding.

For more information about Audubon Louisiana and other bird conservation efforts, visit La.Audubon.org.

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