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The Corporation is organized and shall operate exclusively for charitable, scientific, and educational purposes to encourage and assist in achieving sound use, development, protection, control, sustainability and restoration of the resources of the Barataria-Terrebonne estuary by securing resources to advance the work of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP).
BTNEP is one of 28 national estuary programs throughout the United States and its territories. We are the only National Estuary Program in Louisiana. In order to become a National Estuary, you must be nominated by the governor of your state, and provide clear evidence that your estuary is critically imperiled and nationally significant. In the early 90s, efforts began to develop the operating strategies for BTNEP. Hundreds of stakeholders spent thousands of hours over the course of five years identifying issues that face our ecology, economy, and culture, and developing a plan of action to address those issues. Participants were not limited to government officials or scientist, but rather included all the stakeholders of the estuary, from commercial fishermen to port executives, federal agencies to small local governments. The goal was to develop a holistic approach to preservation, protection, and restoration that was built out of consensus, and thus could be realistically implemented and benefit the people of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary as a whole. Out of that five-year effort came the BTNEP Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). Our CCMP contains a multitude of documents and scientific research that clearly define the crisis we face and provide direction for its preservation. The CCMP can be found at this link: http://www.btnep.org/default.asp?id=30. The CCMP not only contains action plans on coastal restoration, but also education, cultural preservation, and economic development. The people of Coastal Louisiana are far too connected to their home, and their land to exclude any one of these topics from a restoration plan.
Since the completion of the CCMP in the mid-90's, BTNEP has relentlessly strived to be the voice of the people of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary. The stakeholders that helped create the CCMP now direct the actions of BTNEP through the Management Conference. The Management Conference is like our board of directors. Like the development of the CCMP, the BTNEP Management Conference includes representation from all the stakeholders of the Barartaria-Terrebonne National Estuary. We are not a special interest group with our own goals and politics. Rather, we are the voice of the people of Coastal Louisiana and act as the conduit between decision makers and the public. We conduct scientific research, develop standards-based educational curricula for Louisiana's grade-school students; provide volunteer opportunities for groups and individuals to learn about and become involved in restoration; develop and implement wetland restoration projects; and act as an advocate for implementable, realistic, results-driven coastal restoration.
- Mel Landry
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