Restoring the Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico is an incredible haven for wildlife—home to approximately 15,000 unique species of wildlife, including 28 types of dolphins and whales, 49 species of sharks, and five different sea turtles.

Brown Pelican, Brian Bush

The National Wildlife Federation has long worked to improve the health of the Gulf of Mexico for people and wildlife, and to protect the way of life of the 50 million people who live near the Gulf. Over the decades, we have championed the restoration of Louisiana’s rapidly-eroding Mississippi River Delta, advocated for the restoration of the Everglades, and protected freshwater flowing to the Texas coast.

When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, causing significant harm across the Gulf, we were a leading voice calling for justice for the Gulf and championing using the fines resulting from the spill on comprehensive ecosystem restoration.

We are currently focused on ensuring that key coastal habitats are restored and that we move quickly to increase the Gulf’s resilience to sea level rise and other impacts of climate change—with an emphasis on natural defenses such as barrier islands, oyster reefs, floodplains, wetlands and mangroves. We also advocate for protecting wildlife and natural systems in the deeper waters of the Gulf.

NWF’s Key Accomplishments in the Gulf of Mexico

The National Wildlife Federation has a long history of advocacy in the Gulf of Mexico. Here are just a few of our accomplishments:

• Helped secure passage of the RESTORE Act in 2012 in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster--and we are still advocating for the use of Deepwater Horizon penalties on meaningful restoration projects today.

• Contributed to the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan, which addresses the state’s land-loss crisis by restoring wetlands, barrier islands and reconnecting the river with its delta.

• Helped shape the recommendations for more than $1 billion in projects to restore the vast area damaged by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) shipping canal.

• Championed the comprehensive Everglades restoration plan in 2000 and have continued to advocate for key elements in that plan on Capitol Hill.

• Influenced the creation of Texas’ Coastal Resilience Master Plan.

Learn more about what we have done and continue to do in the Gulf of Mexico — read our strategic plan here.

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Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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Regional Centers and Affiliates