In response to the unprecedented and widespread coastal marsh dieback affecting Louisiana and parts of Texas and Florida, several government agencies and the private sector are sponsoring a conference to share information and propose solutions. A conference on "Coastal Marsh Dieback in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Extent, Causes, Consequences, and Remedies" will mobilize a critical mass of scientific expertise on January 11-12, 2001 at the Radisson Hotel in Baton Rouge.
The conference will bring together scientists and officials of the Governor's office, state and federal agencies, and universities. Governor Mike Foster is expected to attend. Governor Foster has declared a State of Emergency and issued an Executive Order that among other things asks State agencies to evaluate what can be done and to make recommendations. Dr. Charles Groat, Director, U.S. Geological Survey, and Dr. Don Boesch, President, University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science will also be participating. Both State and U.S. Senators and Representatives from Louisiana and Texas are also invited as well as interested private citizens and corporations. Several hundred participants are expected. A reception is planned for the first night to encourage further exchange of information.
For more information about the conference, see the web site of the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (Breaux Act): www.Lacoast.gov/brownmarsh. The site has details of the conference with registration information as well as information on the dieback problem, including data and maps, and Governor Foster's Proclamation and Executive Order. For other information, call Gaye Farris at 337/266-8540.
Please send in the attached registration form early to help us with the conference planning. Fees are $30 for two days and $20 for one day. You can receive conference rates at the hotel (of $64 single or $74 double) if you reserve rooms by December 12.
Please post this letter to encourage other colleagues to attend. Your presence and participation in this conference can help make a difference in addressing this critical natural resource issue. We look forward to seeing you there!