Audubon Florida Executive Director Eric Draper is set to testify in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation on Thursday, June 6 at 10:30am. The focus of the hearing is Gulf Restoration: A Progress Report Three Years after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. To read Eric Draper's submitted written testimony, please visit: http://bit.ly/183gf63.

Three years have passed since the Deepwater Horizon disaster shocked the Gulf of Mexico. Thousands of birds from dozens of species succumbed to the chemical mix during the months when the oil flowed unabated. Gulf residents will never forget the tragic images of wildlife struggling against the oily muck.

"In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, considerable efforts are underway to make the Gulf Ecosystem more resilient," said Eric Draper, Audubon Florida Executive Director, adding, "As these plans advance, the aim must be to protect and preserve the watersheds, wetlands, and wildlife that make our region so special."

When the news of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill first became public, more than 35,000 people contacted Audubon to volunteer where they could, to monitor beaches for additional oil, or to act as bird stewards.

"Across the Gulf, our ecology is our economy, and we know that the integrity of the Gulf and its habitats supports our economic well-being," said Draper. "We are looking at a once-in-a-lifetime chance to restore the Gulf. Audubon is encouraging decision-makers to focus on the long-term sustainability of our coastal ecosystems."