THIBODAUX, LA – On August 3, 2017, the Senate unanimously approved a resolution designating the week of September 16 through September 23 as National Estuaries Week. Senator Bill Cassidy was one of 28 Senators who co-sponsored the resolution. The bipartisan legislation recognizes the importance of coastal and estuarine regions to our national economy. That week, the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) will be celebrating National Estuaries Week leading up to National Estuaries Day on September 23.
Nationwide, approximately 110 million people, or more than half of all Americans, live near an estuary and enjoy the many benefits estuaries provide. These benefits include jobs in industries like agriculture, commercial fishing, power generation, tourism, shipping, and even brewing and winemaking.
Estuaries also provide much more than jobs and wages. They provide habitat for fish, shellfish, shorebirds, waterfowl, and other wildlife. Hundreds of species use the protection of estuaries to breed, hunt, and raise their young. This, in turn, attracts tourists as many as 180 million a year, according to a 1993 national study. The salt marshes and wetlands used by these species also provide coastal residents with protection from hurricanes and storm surges.
“Estuaries not only support Louisiana’s tourism and seafood industries, but serve as natural barriers to minimize potential damage during hurricanes and other Gulf storms,” said Senator Cassidy. “We must recognize the importance of estuaries to Louisiana and preserve them.”
The purpose of National Estuaries Day, first observed in 1988, is to promote the importance of coastal environments where rivers meet the sea. Restore America’s Estuaries, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association, the Association of National Estuary Programs, and countless other organizations, associations, and agencies support National Estuaries Day.
BTNEP will be involved in a variety of events during National Estuaries Week. These events include:
- Estuary Artworks Contest, art to be delivered to BTNEP office – September 1-23
- International Coastal Cleanup at Elmer’s Island – September 16
- Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary Foundation White Boot Gala at Spahr’s in Des Allemands –September 19
- BTNEP/CLHS Jr. ROTC Community Cleanup at Hwy 90/LA 1/ Hwy 308 – September 22
- LPB Recycled Art Competition Reception at Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans –September 23
- Thibodaux’s Bayou Country Children’s Museum’s Annual Estuary Day – September 23
“National Estuaries Week is a great opportunity to reflect on the innumerable wondrous features of our distinct ecosystem,” said Susan Testroet- Bergeron, BTNEP Director. “We encourage the public to join in events that raise awareness about the value of our wetlands.”
View the original press release here.