Gulf Restoration Network

United for a Healthy Gulf

Blogging for a Healthy Gulf
Aaron Viles
Louisiana rockstars take to the air to see the coast
Friday, 26 March 2010 13:24

GRN was excited to work with musician Tab Benoit and his organization, Voice of the Wetlands to take a couple other Louisiana rockstars on a coastal wetlands flyover recently.  We were lucky to get Anders Osborne and Pepper Keenan to take time out of their busy schedules to spend time with us viewing the Atchafalaya Basin and it's neighbor the Terrebonne Basin from above. We saw how the Atchafalaya Basin is building land, as it's still connected to the fresh water and sediment of the Mississippi River, while the Terrebonne is literally falling apart, disconnected from the Mississippi and it's vital resources.

We're going to be working with Anders to take the coastal restoration message on the road with him and Stanton Moore on their upcoming West Coast tour.  Watch for it!
Sarah Holtz
Cruising in Mississippi on the Capt Pete
Monday, 15 March 2010 13:05
Photo by Joe Tomasovsky
Photo by Joe Tomasovsky

Yesterday's “Cruising for the Coast” event, hosted by Ship Island Excursions in Gulfport, Mississippi to benefit GRN, was an absolutely lovely afternoon on the water.

As GRN supporter and Mississippi artist Steve Shepard put it: “We had lots of beer, excellent food from area restaurants, an art raffle, and plenty of conversations.  The dolphins were bought off by a coalition of real estate developers …but our stalwart gannets refused payoffs and showed up in considerable numbers…  I could go on and on.  I don't think I've ever circulated so much among all the people at a party and had one good conversation after another.”

With 101 people who care about a healthy Gulf onboard the Capt. Pete, you can't go wrong.  Thank you to everyone who came out to support GRN.  It’s your support that enables GRN to work for healthy waters and to fight destructive projects like the Richton Salt Dome.  Many attendees took the opportunity to talk to Raleigh Hoke, our Mississippi Organizer, Casey DeMoss Roberts, our Water Resources Assistant Director, and Dan Favre, our Campaign Organizer who leads GRN’s Save Our Cypress Campaign, to obtain an in-depth update about GRN campaign work.

Thank you to Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company for keeping the libations flowing and to area restaurants, Salute Italian  Restaurant and Brooklyn Pizza in Gulfport, and Maison de Lu and Phoenicia Gourmet Cuisine in Ocean Springs, for contributing delicious hors d’oeurves.

Photo by Joe Tomasovsky
Photo by Joe Tomasovsky

I would like to also recognize our wonderful volunteers: Anat Belasen, Sam Kane, and Sara Warren. Anat, Sam, and Sara all worked tirelessly last summer on GRN’s outreach campaign and we are grateful for their continuing support.

Finally, I would like to extend many special thanks to artists Donald Bradburn, Glenn Miller, Mary Pickard, Kathryn Ramseur, Steve Shepard, and Beth Skrmetta for contributing their stunning work; and to Cynthia Ramseur and Natural Capital Development, Melissa Johnson and South Coast Paddling Company, Elaine Stevens and IP Casino Resort & Spa, and Robert Wiygul of Waltzer & Associates for their contributions to the raffle and the event.  We couldn’t have done it with our event committee: thank you Terese Collins, Stan Flint, Cynthia Ramseur, Chrissy Schuengel, Louis Skrmetta, and Robert Wiygul.  And, of course, many thanks to Captain Skrmetta and the crew of the Capt. Pete!

To see more great photos of the event, click here.

I look forward to many more fabulous gatherings in Mississippi!

Eir Danielson is GRN's Development Director 

Dan Favre
Summer Jobs to Defend the Gulf Coast
Friday, 12 March 2010 16:45
From the beautiful cypress forests to seagrass beds teaming with fish to the most biodiverse wetlands in the country, the Gulf Coast is a natural treasure. Unfortunately, we lose a football field worth of wetlands every 45 minutes on the Gulf coast, our water quality is threatened by pollution, and our seas overfished. You can help defend the coast!

This summer, work with the Gulf Restoration Network in New Orleans to organize public support for the "Defend Our Wetlands, Defend Ourselves" campaign, pressure Congress and oil companies to fix the coast, and recruit members for the Gulf Restoration Network. Louisiana loses a football field worth of wetlands (a.k.a. natural storm protection and important Gulf habitat) every 45 minutes, and we can stop it!

Work in New Orleans with potential for travel throughout the Gulf, learn valuable outreach and activism skills, have a real impact on saving the Gulf, and earn $5,000 to $8,500 for the summer.

To Apply

Please send your resume and cover letter to Nick Poggioli, Campus Organizer, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Early application deadline is April 1, 2010.
Raleigh Hoke
Wave Maker's News: Is Cleaner Water in Florida's Future?
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 10:09

Over the last few months, GRN's Healthy Waters Team has been busy fighting to keep the rivers, bayous and streams of the Gulf region safe for ourselves and future generations.  From working to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in Florida's waters, to holding the Army Corps of Engineers accountable for protecting coastal wetlands, GRN is committed to preserving and enhancing our healthy waters and communities.

For more info about our recent efforts and successes, check out this issue of Wave Maker's News:

In this edition, you can read about new efforts to protect Florida's waters from algal blooms, an ill-conceived project to build a prison in a coastal flood zone, continuing work to stop the Kemper County, Mississippi coal plant and mine, threatened wetlands near MR-GO, upcoming Aveda Earth Month festivities, and a new process for citizens to nominate their favorite waters as "Outstanding" in Mississippi!

Click here to check it out:


Raleigh Hoke
Protect the Pearl River
Monday, 08 March 2010 15:10

pearlfakelakeemail Imagine for a moment that your county officials wanted to spend your tax dollars on a project that would destroy important wetlands, and harm Mississippi's vital recreational and commercial fishing industry, even as these same officials were slashing budgets for schools, police officers and libraries. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense, does it? Unfortunately, this is exactly what is happening in Pearl River County, Mississippi! 

Pearl River officials are moving forward with a destructive and expensive plan to build a dam on East Hobolochitto Creek, a significant tributary of the Pearl River.   The proposed dam would destroy almost 600 acres of wetlands - which help protect local communities from flooding - and ultimately reduce freshwater and sediment flows in the Pearl River.  This could have a big impact on the coastal economy and environment, as well as efforts to restore disappearing wetlands along the coast. However, it's not too late to halt this destructive boondoggle - if you are a Mississippi resident please click here to send a personal message to your legislators!

Mississippi's vital recreational and commercial fishing industries rely on freshwater from the Pearl River to sustain the coastal estuaries which are important breeding grounds for the fish we like to catch and eat. Oysters harvests can also be impacted by the level of freshwater in coastal areas.  In fact, increased levels of salt have helped to devastate the industry in Alabama, reducing the annual catch from 800,000 pounds to just 75,000. Plus, sediments from the Pearl River nourish the same coastal marshes which protect nearby communities from storm surge!

It's time for Pearl River County leaders to step back and consider the consequences of their actions to the coast and economy. If you are a Mississippi resident, you can help by sending a message to your senators and representative asking them to protect the Pearl River:

Raleigh Hoke is GRN's Mississippi Organizer

Sarah Holtz
Cruising for the Coast
Monday, 08 March 2010 13:49

Join us at Cruising for the CoastEnjoy a sunset cruise hosted by Ship Island Excursions with great company, food, and discussion--to benefit the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN).

Join GRN in protecting and restoring our Gulf region's precious natural resources while enjoying an afternoon on the water. Meet members of the board and staff of the Gulf Restoration Network and learn how your contributions help protect and renew rivers and bayou throughout the Gulf of Mexico region that are critical to family recreation, fisheries, wildlife habitat, and drinking water. Click here to reserve your space online today.

Sunday, March 14, 2010
4 to 7 p.m.

Ship Island Excursions
Gulfport Yacht Harbor
Gulfport, Mississippi

Beer provided by Lazy Magnolia

Silent Auction
Bid on unique offerings celebrating Mississippi's culture including artwork by Beth Skrmetta (painting), Kathryn Ramseur (lithograph), Donald Bradburn (photograph), Steve Shepard (drawing), and Mary Pickard (watercolor), a kayaking tour with South Coast Paddling Company, and Senses spa packages from IP Casino Resort & Spa.  

Tickets start at $50 per person/$80 for two.
All donations are tax deductible.

Event Host Committee
Terese Collins
Chrissy Schuengel
Stan Flint
Louis Skrmetta
Cynthia Ramseur
Robert Wiygul

GRN's Work in Mississippi
In Mississippi, GRN is committed to stopping the Richton salt dome project, an irresponsible plan to withdraw 50 million gallons of water a day for five years from the Pascagoula River in order to create a massive underground oil storage facility. Funds raised from this event will benefit campaigns of the GRN, including our healthy waters campaign to protect and renew rivers and bayous throughout the Gulf of Mexico region that are critical to family recreation, fisheries, wildlife habitat, and drinking water. Learn more at

Click here to invite friends and family to join you at the cruise and spread the word on Facebook.

With questions, contact Eir Danielson at 504.525.1528 x210 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Click here to reserve your space online today.

Jonathan Henderson
72 Hours for our Coast and Climate
Thursday, 04 March 2010 15:58

Dear All,

This week, we have been teaming up with our partners at 1Sky and dozens of other organizations around the country for 72 hours to send a loud and powerful message to Senator Landrieu that she must protect our coast and our clean air. Since the start of this push last Tuesday, over 200,000 calls from around the country have been placed to key Senate offices, and it was and remains vital that Louisianans are part of this ongoing effort.

Carbon Dioxide pollution from polluting industries harms our air quality and contributes greatly to the problems associated with climate change, such as rising sea-levels and more powerful storms, which wreak havoc on our coast and speed up-the destruction of our wetlands.

Can you make a call to Senator Landrieu? It is extremely important that she hears from people just like YOU. When you make a call, be sure to tell her:

  • Protect the federal Clean Air Act from polluting industries and oppose the Murkowski resolution.
  • Support strong, comprehensive climate legislation this year because our coast and communities depend on it.

1Sky has made this easy for you to do. Simply click on the link here and follow the prompts. After you make the call, please ask as many of your friends as possible to do the same. Thank you.

For our Coast and Communities,

Jonathan Henderson
Louisiana Global Warming Organizer
Gulf Restoration Network/1Sky

Aaron Viles
White House Restoration Roadmap Released - Groups Cheer
Thursday, 04 March 2010 15:05

Big coastal news!  The White House has released the initial results of the Louisiana-Mississippi Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Working Group, and we are terribly pleased to see a strategic approach, focused on: 1. Work with Federal and State Partners to Articulate a Shared Long-Term Vision, 2. Promoting Science-based Decisions, and perhaps most important, 3. Resolve Policy and Process Obstacles Impeding Progress.

We're glad to be working with 5 other local and national groups focused on this issue to help our state, federal and local partners navigate this roadmap.  Head here to see our joint press statement.

It's great to see the White House thoughtfully, usefully engaging on our coastal crisis, and I want to thank everyone who sent an e-mail over the past month or two to help urge the Working Group along.  We've got a long way to go, but we're certainly making progress.

Aaron Viles is GRN's campaign director

Aaron Viles
Ask President Obama to be a Saint for the Gulf Coast
Monday, 22 February 2010 12:55

WHO DAT GONNA FIX OUR COASTDo you hear that?  It's the sound of millions of Who Dat's and Mardi Gras revelers exhaling after weeks of celebrating.   With each Saints' win on the road to their Super Bowl victory, the legion of fans and supporters grew even larger. We know President Obama was rooting for the Saints, and it seemed like just about everyone across America (but outside Indiana) was as well.

Now, we need all our fans to root for Louisiana's wetlands. As the celebration fades, the urgency of our coast only increases. It's time to act.

Every 45 minutes a football field worth of southern Louisiana disappears into the Gulf of Mexico, rapidly diminishing the natural storm buffer (defensive line?) that once stood between New Orleans and the Gulf. To reverse this trend and protect our region, it's time to go on offense for our wetlands.

Fortunately, with support from the nation -- which has benefited from Louisiana's culture, oil and gas, ports, seafood and sports -- we can fix the coast.  For the first time, coastal wetlands reconstruction money has been included in the President's budget, but the amount is far from what we need. We need a real commitment to the coast soon.  I hope you can help ask the White House to keep rooting for us.

Just like with the Saints' victory, restoring our coast will mean taking risks, using all of the resources at hand, and keeping a laser focus on our goal. And, this time, we must truly have the whole country behind us.

After all, no wetlands means no Superdome, no Saints and no chance at another Lombardi trophy! Ask the President to commit to Louisiana's wetlands now.  Visit this website to send that message:

Defend the coast. Defend New Orleans.

Aaron Viles
Campaign Director
Raleigh Hoke
Citizens say NO to Kemper Coal
Thursday, 11 February 2010 00:00
Last week, the Mississippi Public Service Commission met to discuss the cost and benefits of building a massive, dirty and expensive new lignite coal power plant and mine in Kemper County. For months, concerned citizens and groups – like the Mississippi Sierra ClubMississippi for Affordable Energy, and, of course, GRN – have been speaking out on how the costs of this project to human health, the economy, and the environment far outweigh any potential benefits. And many of these same concerned citizens woke up before dawn on Friday morning to hop on a bus, ride to Jackson, and tell the PSC commissioners exactly that.

Citizens protest against Kemper Coal
This proposed coal burning plant and mine will destroy or harm roughly 6,000 acres of wetlands, disturb over 40 miles of streams, release toxic chemicals like mercury into waterways, and leave nearby communities vulnerable to catastrophes akin to the recent coal ash spills in Tennessee. And Mississippi Power is asking the PSC to let them charge its ratepayers upwards of $2.4 billion dollars for this privilege before the plant is even built!

Outside of the hearing, opponents gathered to talk to the media and protest this destructive project (pictured right). You can read more about the hearing here, and if you are from Mississippi, please click here to tell your Commissioner to say NO to Kemper Coal!

Raleigh Hoke is GRN's Mississippi Organizer
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