Former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu will be the keynote speaker when the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana honors 15 stewards of Louisiana’s coast at its Coastal Stewardship Awards Banquet. The banquet will be at 6 p.m. Friday, April 17, at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center. Tickets are $50 and are available at www.crcl.org.
Lifetime achievement awards will go to Oliver Houck, a co-founder of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation who heads the environmental law program at Tulane Law School in New Orleans, and to Shirley Bradway Laska, leader of a statewide effort to build out and resource sustainable educational institutions.
A distinguished service award will go to Landrieu, who secured $500 million for coastal restoration in Louisiana through the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, which was included in the Energy Policy Act in 2005. In the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Landrieu spearheaded and led the effort to direct 80 percent of the Clean Water Act penalties back to the Gulf states for coastal restoration.
Coastal stewardship awards will go to Capt. Wendy Wilson Billiot, who owns and operates Wetland Tour and Guide Service, which focuses on educational eco-tours in and around the waters of lower Dularge; to Bob Grambling, a scholar of environmental sociology and the social impacts of coastal land loss and energy development who died in November; to Albertine Kimble, local coastal program manager for Plaquemines Parish; to Janet Rhodus, founder of Launch Leeville, which highlights the ecology and erosion of the fishing coast in lower Lafourche Parish; to Denise Reed, an expert in coastal marsh sustainability and the role of human activities in modifying coastal systems and chief scientist for the Water Institute of the Gulf; and to David Richard, a veteran wildlife biologist for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and executive vice president of Stream Wetland Services LLC.
A youth coastal stewardship award will go to Sean Turner, 11, who made a heartfelt video advocating for the passage of the RESTORE Act when he was only 8. Turner volunteers for CRCL, Vanishing Paradise, National Wildlife Federation and Louisiana Wildlife Federation to help spread the word about the importance of coastal restoration.
Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve will be honored as a friend of the coalition, and volunteer awards will go to Che Gilliland, Donald Hicks, Arnaldo Pineda and Jack Radosta.