STATEMENT OF SENATOR MARY L. LANDRIEU
SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
HEARING ON S. 1222
July 9, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to comment today on an important measure before the Committee on Environment and Public Works_S. 1222, "The Estuary Habitat Restoration Partnership Act of 1997."

This significant legislation recognizes the cultural and economic importance of estuary habitats as a natural resource. We have learned from the past that protective measures are not enough. In addition to protection we must emphasize the education and restoration of estuary habitats. By creating federal/state partnership programs I believe this bill is a major step in the right direction toward ensuring a sustainable resource base for the future.

In Louisiana alone we are home to one of the nation's largest productive estuaries, the Barataria/Terrebonne estuary, which covers over four million acres. Estuaries are the building blocks for the coastal areas of my State. From a wildlife and fisheries standpoint estuaries contribute nearly $6 billion to Louisiana's economy. In addition, they provide nursery grounds for fisheries across the Gulf of Mexico. Finally, estuaries are the basis for a growing industry, ecotourism. For these and other reasons coordinated efforts are vital to the continued viability of our nation's coastlines.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.