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Committee seeks public input on nominating La. estuary to NOAA

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Posted at 1:03 PM, Aug 23, 2021

The National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) System is a nationwide network of 29 coastal sites designed to protect and study estuarine systems. There are none in Louisiana, however, the Louisiana NERR (LaNERR) Site Development Committee is working to change that.

LaNERR, through Louisiana Sea Grant, is in the site development phase of the process of selecting to nominate a Louisiana estuary to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is seeking the public’s input, according to a release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Three alternative sites have been proposed, including Atchafalaya Basin, Barataria Basin, and Pontchartrain Basin.

The LaNERR Site Development Committee will host a series of virtual town hall meetings to provide information on the sites as well as take public input. Since the meetings will be virtual attendance only, registration is required. To register for any of the town hall meetings, go to LaNERR: Town Hall Meetings | Louisiana Sea Grant. Three meetings for the Atchafalaya Basin will be held on September 8, 14, and 16.

The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a network of estuarine areas representative of the various biogeographic regions in the United States. According to the release, reserves are established for long-term research, education, stewardship, and interpretation to promote informed management of the nation’s estuaries and coastal habitats. A reserve represents a partnership program between NOAA and coastal states. NOAA provides funding and national guidance and each site is managed daily by a lead state agency or university with input from local partners.

The research reserves cover more than 1.3 million acres of estuaries and are focused on the following:

  • Each site undertakes the initiatives needed to keep the estuary healthy.
  • Reserve-based research and monitoring data are used to aid conservation and management efforts on local and national levels.
  • Local and state officials are better equipped to introduce local data into the decision-making process as a result of reserve training efforts.
  • Thousands of children and adults are served through hands-on laboratory and field-based experiences.

For more information on this program, go to LaNERR | Louisiana Sea Grant.

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