Water & Wetlands

Water & Wetlands

bird and wetlandsGulf Restoration Network works to protect and restore waters and wetlands throughout the Gulf of Mexico region. Wetlands are critical to recreation, fisheries, habitat, and drinking water.

Despite much progress made under the Clean Water Act, many Gulf waters and wetlands are being filled for development and polluted with fertilizers, pesticides, sewage and other contaminants. The impacts of this destruction can take various forms:

  • Every summer, nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from the Mississippi River forms the second largest Dead Zone on the planet. Little aquatic life can survive this area of low oxygen.
  • High levels of bacteria from municipal sewage treatment plants and urban runoff force the closure of beaches throughout the Gulf. 
  • Oxygen-depleting pollution from runoff and sewage facilities causes harmful algae infestations and fish-kills.
  • Habitat is destroyed for destructive development.
  • Storm and flood protection for communities is also reduced through misguided destruction of wetlands.

GRN is working to end these water pollution and wetland destruction problems through a multi-faceted approach that includes public education, empowerment of citizen groups, technical review of government policies, and legal action when necessary.

Read more about these issues below: 

Implementing the Clean Water Act 

The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, is one of the cornerstones of environmental law, and is a primary tool Gulf Restoration Network uses to protect the waters that flow into the Gulf of Mexico...By using the Act, we hope to realize its goal (albeit belatedly) to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters."...read more

Importance of Wetlands

Wetlands are extremely valuable to society, and are a form of natural infrastructure. Estuarine wetlands where freshwater and saltwater meet, like the marshland in the thirty-three bays along the Northern Gulf of Mexico, are ecological engines pumping out life like no other kind of ecosystem...read more

Preserving the Pearl River

The Pearl River, already dammed north of Jackson, Mississippi since 1963, faces a new threat as developers and the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District look to dam the river in Jackson in the name of flood control and downtown riverfront development...read more.   

Preventing Water Pollution

Under the Clean Water Act, all discharges of a pollutant from a discrete, “point” source require a permit. Focusing on Louisiana and Mississippi, Gulf Restoration Network monitors all of the proposals to discharge pollution into state waters. Many times, these proposals would permit inappropriate levels of pollution into waters that residents and wildlife depend upon for fishing, swimming and drinking...read more.  

The Dead Zone and Mississippi River

Since Gulf Restoration Network’s founding in 1994, one of our priority issues has been advocating for the reduction of the nitrogen and phosphorous pollution in the Mississippi that causes the Dead Zone, an area of low oxygen that forms every summer in the Gulf where little aquatic life can survive...read more.

Stopping Wetland Destruction

One way that thousands of acres of wetlands in the Gulf States are destroyed every year occurs through permission granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The Corps has the authority to grant permits to "dredge or fill" waters of the United States, including wetlands. So, a permit is required any time a person wishes to fill a wetland or construct a building, subdivision, strip mall, road, pipeline or  industrial facility, etc. that will destroy wetlands. Gulf Restoration Network works to fight Corps-authorized wetland destruction...read more.