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Louisiana Loses a Conservation Hero – A Tribute to Randy Moertle

Most people deep within Louisiana’s coastal conservation and land management community know the name Randy Moertle. Randy’s presence at coastal conservation meetings was never missed – tall and lanky, with an endlessly cheerful and outgoing personality that absorbs a room. He stood out in the best way possible. Sadly, Randy ended his battle with cancer, leaving behind his wife, children, grandchildren, and an enormous community of friends and colleagues. Randy was larger than life, and his energy was palpable and never-ending.

For decades, Randy worked with various landowners and managers, including the Audubon Society and our Rainey Conservation Alliance partners. Over the last ten years, he led this group in attracting over $80 million in coastal restoration funding to benefit thousands of acres of wetlands and cheniers that this group manages. Not only was this critical work, but it was also fun work – Randy coordinated quarterly meetings in which many of us got to know him and each other, and I looked forward to seeing him every time. Randy was sharp as a tack and could quickly distill complex issues into framing a clear and successful path forward. The success of the Rainey Conservation Alliance was primarily achieved because of his incredible leadership.

The void that Randy leaves behind is hard to digest, but I also know that all who knew him feel the privilege of knowing him. Without knowing, Randy taught many of us about the value of persistence, networking, and building strong relationships. He was one of those special people that was immediately likable and respectable. His legacy of making coastal Louisiana a better place for birds and people will never be forgotten

Erik Johnson, Audubon Louisiana

I first met Randy in 1995 when we both worked at Coastal Environments.  Through Randy, I had the opportunity to meet and work with a group of talented biologists, archaeologists, ecologists, and geologists on many coastal zone lawsuits, including impacts from seismic activities and petroleum drilling within diverse areas in south and southwest Louisiana.  He embraced technology, enabling me to use geospatial tools to inventory, measure, and calculate the effects of those impacts for his exhibits.  Randy always assembled the best teams and reached meaningful, scientific conclusions for his clients. We will miss Randy at different levels, and mine involves his friendship, sustained interest in coastal recreation and conservation, exposure to unique issues and lawsuits relating to coastal land loss, and overall fun while carrying out fieldwork or visiting the coastal.  I thank Randy for those times and activities, which will never be forgotten.

Lindsay Nakashima, Audubon Louisiana

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