Press Room

Emergency Supplemental Bill Brings Much-Needed Relief to Gulf Coast Communities and Wildlife

Funding for natural infrastructure will increase resilience against future storms and improve bird habitat.

WASHINGTON — Early this morning, Congress voted to approve a third emergency supplemental aid bill in the aftermath of the devastating 2017 Atlantic hurricane season that wreaked havoc across the Gulf Coast and Caribbean. Of the total $80 billion dollar package, $23.5 billion will go to the Disaster Relief Fund to aid in continued relief and recovery for communities and wildlife, $12 billion for resiliency and mitigation activities to improve the sustainability of communities affected by disasters, and $15 billion will fund measures to reduce future flood risks and storm damages.

“Investing in natural infrastructure as coastal defenses is a win-win. It provides people with a buffer from destructive storm surge, while also increasing rich habitat for birds and other wildlife,” said David Yarnold, (@david_yarnold), president and CEO of the National Audubon Society.

“These funds come with a sense of urgency. For birds and people alike, the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season was one of the most devastating ever and we’re just four months away from the next hurricane season.”

“This bill is an important step in the right direction.” 

The bill also provides resources to repair damage to Everglades restoration projects, prioritizes funding for rebuilding smarter and integrating green and gray infrastructure in Texas, as well as a provision that will help advance construction of 3 large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in Louisiana.

On these efforts, Yarnold noted, “Nowhere is the importance of coastal and ecosystem restoration and natural infrastructure more vital than along the Gulf Coast. This bill will go a long way to help the people and birds of the Gulf recover.” 

In the aftermath of other disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Spill, Audubon has worked across the Gulf Coast, where it has 5 state or coastal offices, in Washington, D.C, and with its large network of chapters, centers, and sanctuaries, to advance large-scale coastal restoration projects that benefit birds and people, as well as a bird stewardship and monitoring program that stretches from Florida to Texas to help birds recover and thrive.

Following the devastation from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, National Audubon Society staff published a Rapid Assessment Report of the storms’ impacts to critical bird and wildlife habitat. To read the report in full, please visit: http://www.audubon.org/conservation/coastal-resilience

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more how to help at www.Audubon.organd follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.

Contact: Jacques Hebert, Communications Director, National Audubon Society, jhebert@audubon.org, (504) 264-6849, (504) 250-3699.

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