Shell wins Gulf Guardian award

07 09, 2013 by Daily Comet

Shell energy company has been honored with a 2013 Gulf Guardian Award for its support of a restoration project off Island Road in Isle de Jean Charles.

The innovated floating islands restoration project engages student volunteers in restoration. The students pair with adult volunteers to plant marsh grass in the so-called floating islands, 5-foot by 20-foot floating pads made of recycled plastics, which can be anchored in shallow water to help marsh grow. The hope is that the islands will not only buffer the last strips of wetlands bordering Island Road but also collect sediment and help marsh plants thrive, creating new land in the shallow open water in a part of Terrebonne that’s suffered major land loss.

The Gulf Guardian Award is given by the Gulf of Mexico Program, an initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that facilitates collaborative projects to protect, maintain and restore the Gulf.

The floating islands project was a result of a partnership between the Coastal Conservation Association, Shell Oil Co., Keep Terrebonne Beautiful, Terrebonne Parish government, Terrebonne Parish School District, Martin EcoSystems and the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Local Native American tribes also got involved.

“Shell has been very dedicated to creating and restoring marine habitat in the Gulf and certainly deserves this recognition,” said Pat Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “This project is a perfect example of what can be accomplished through the successful partnership of a good corporate citizen, local conservationists and a nonprofit organization to revitalize critical marine habitat.”

In 2010, Shell provided $1.5 million over three years to fund the Coastal Conservation Association’s Building Conservation Trust, an innovative program for recreational-angler-driven marine habitat restoration. The Floating Islands Restoration Project was one of the first projects undertaken by the trust.

“Shell is honored to be the recipient of the Gulf Guardian Award. The Floating Islands Project provided a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with CCA and several partner organizations and work with the community,” said Bruce Culpepper, Shell executive vice president of Human Resources and Regional Coordination, Americas. “In addition, many of our employees and their families were able to contribute their time and talent toward an innovative project that addresses some of the key environmental challenges in the Gulf Coast region.”