Jun 12, 2009

Conservation Leaders Gather at Great Waters Restoration Summit

Summit addressed threats to U.S. waters, economic benefit of restoring aquatic ecosystems and political outlook

Conservation leaders from across the country gathered at the Great Waters Restoration Summit in New Orleans June 10 to push for the restoration of iconic U.S. waters such as Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Louisiana, Florida Everglades, Great Lakes, Gulf of Maine, Long Island Sound, Puget Sound and others.

“The summit has one goal: Unite America to protect the nation’s iconic waters from serious threats ranging from global warming to invasive species,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, the host of the summit. “Restoring American’s great waters will benefit the country’s economy and environment—and will be vital in addressing the impacts of global warming.”

The conference, June 10 to 12, coincides with momentum building in the nation’s capitol. In the current budget cycle, both Congress and the White House have acknowledged the vital importance of the nation’s great waters.

“Our goal is to emerge from the summit united in our call for federal action,” said Malia Hale, director, national restoration and water resources campaigns at the National Wildlife Federation. “It’s time to lift all boats and restore the waters that millions of people depend on for their health, jobs and way of life.”

The summit will address the economic benefit of restoring the country’s aquatic ecosystems; the common threats to U.S. waters; and the political outlook for federal action from the U.S. Congress and Obama Administration.

“The threats to our nation’s waters—whether it be Coastal Louisiana or the Chesapeake Bay—impact people, businesses and communities,” said Susan Kaderka, regional executive director for the National Wildlife Federation’s South Central Regional Center. “Our message is simple: It’s time that we come together as a nation to restore all of our country’s great waters, before the problems get worse and more costly. The time to act is now.”