The SLC is a non-profit that supports the responsible restoration of coastal Louisiana while protecting our heritage, culture, and livelihoods.
The growth of the Save Louisiana Coalition over the last eight years and its success informing coastal residents on issues facing their communities is nothing short of amazing. The SLC was first started in response to the large scale diversions in the state’s Master Plan for Coastal Restoration. Landowners, scientists, business owners, parish governments, coastal residents, restaurants, recreational fisherman, commercial fishermen, shrimpers, oyster farmers, and crabbers all joined together working toward common goals. No other organization has ever brought all of these different groups to the table, and it didn’t take long to realize that we all had many of the same needs and concerns, and little representation. It was a natural fit for the SLC to take on this role in the hope that a combined voice would better serve the people of coastal Louisiana. Since this time, the coalition has been working hard to keep the residents of southern Louisiana informed on any issues they should be aware of, as well as being the liaison to Baton Rouge that the people have been lacking for far too long.
The issue of how we should rebuild and protect our coast is clearly the most pressing issue facing coastal Louisiana today so that is where the SLC remains focused. The money coming to Louisiana from the BP fines is a one-time opportunity. This unfortunately brings out many engineering firms, consulting firms, and so-called environmental groups looking to get their share of the pie. This is not a time for wasteful spending, bureaucracy, brother-in-law deals, or crooked politics. This is people’s lives. The people of coastal Louisiana are unique. We are hard-working, resilient, loyal, and determined. Most of the people who live in the areas we are losing have been there for generations, and they make Louisiana what it is. The culture and heritage of Louisiana, from the world class fishing in Breton Sound to the oysters on the half shell in the French Quarter, is what makes us special. It’s what drives tourism and keeps our economy alive. The backbone of all of this is our seafood industry, and by that I don’t just mean commercial fishermen. You would be hard pressed to find many businesses in southern Louisiana not affected by the seafood industry. From the gas stations, boat dealers, bait and tackle shops, and marinas that supply the industry to the restaurants, grocery stores, and packing houses that rely on its harvest; the entire economy of our coastal parishes rely on our fishermen. They deserve protection and our best efforts to restore the land that they are watching wash away.
One of the biggest misconceptions of the Save Louisiana Coalition is that it is a group of people willing to sacrifice rebuilding our coast so they do not have to travel a little further to catch fish. This could not be further from the truth. We are the people who live on the coast; it is our homes that are washing away. No one could possibly want to save it more than we do. That land is our livelihood, our families’ traditions, our heritage, and we would sacrifice anything to save it. If there was proof that large scale diversions would build back the land we love, we would be having a different conversation. Unfortunately, not only will large scale diversions be devastating to our seafood industry, every day we are seeing more and more science saying that they just won’t work. Diversions are a necessary part of our coastal landscape, we currently have 16 diversions in southeastern Louisiana. When run correctly, they keep our marsh with the healthy levels of fresh and salt water that they need to thrive. When these diversions are overrun, they overload our marshes with more nutrients and pollutants than they can sequester and leave them completely vulnerable to storm surge. This was seen clearly in the Caernarvon area after Katrina. If that is the consequence of overrunning an 8,000 cfs diversion, what will a 75,000 cfs diversion do? We don’t need experiments or back room politics, we need land, and not floating vegetation that is washed away with every surge that comes through. We need real land, land that bulldozers can drive on in a matter of days, like the dredging project at Shell Island. This is what the Save Louisiana Coalition is about and what we are fighting for, a responsible, common-sense approach to rebuilding our communities.