March 10, 2017
The Honorable Bill Posey
The Honorable Suzanne Bonamici
The Honorable Frank LoBiondo
The Honorable Rick Larsen
Re: Bipartisan Congressional Caucus to Support Our Nation’s Estuaries
Dear Representatives Posey, Bonamici, LoBiondo, and Larsen,
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is the nation’s largest conservation organization with more than 6 million members and supporters nationally. NWF strives to remain a national network of like-minded state and territorial groups, seeking balanced, common-sense solutions to environmental problems that work for wildlife and people.
As such, we applaud you for forming a bipartisan congressional caucus to give our nation’s estuaries a stronger voice and presence in Washington by uniting lawmakers from across the country in support of these critical ecosystems. As you are aware, estuaries are among the most productive natural places in the world. They provide goods and services that are economically and ecologically indispensable. Most fish and shellfish consumed in the United States complete at least part of their life cycles in estuaries, which also provide essential habitat for hundreds of species of birds, waterfowl, and other wildlife.
NWF recognizes that healthy estuaries are not only critical for the survival of many wildlife, but that they also serve as the economic centers of coastal communities by providing important recreation areas, tourism, and centers of transportation and commerce. NWF’s work in the Gulf before and after Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has centered on ensuring investments are made in restoring and maintaining the health of the Gulf’s estuaries – such as ensuring enough freshwater reaches coastal estuaries, restoring sediment supply to retreating deltas, and protecting water quality by preserving strategic pieces of coastal land. The Gulf’s estuaries also serve as some of the first lines of defense from hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, making the maintenance of their ecosystem functions of urgent importance.
We are enthusiastic and optimistic that the Congressional Estuary Caucus will continue to elevate the importance of estuaries by educating Members and their staff of the 115th Congress on their value to our environment, communities, and national economy, and promoting initiatives that support the restoration and protection of these critical ecosystems.
Thank you again for supporting our Nation’s Estuaries. NWF stands ready to support your work and we hope you will reach out to us with any inquiries or opportunities to engage with you.
Director, Gulf of Mexico Restoration
National Wildlife Federation