BTNEP/BTEF AND THE MOSAIC COMPANY PARTNER FOR DEVELOPMENT OF A NATIVE PLANT GREENHOUSE

Staff Writer
Donaldsonville Chief

THIBODAUX - The Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary Foundation (BTEF) was awarded a $48,500 grant from The Mosaic Company for development of a Native Plant Greenhouse located at the Nicholls State University farm. The greenhouse will provide protection for the woody species, which are used in the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program’s (BTNEP) volunteer program vegetative restoration efforts.

BTNEP’s volunteer program has played a vital role in the restoration efforts combating Louisiana’s coastal land loss. Volunteers from all over the country come to learn more about our unique plight and to help save this important ecosystem. With this steady influx of volunteers, BTNEP has been able to grow their Coastal Restoration Planting Program facility and increase their plant production to provide the materials to implement these important coastal restoration projects. The addition of the greenhouse to the production facility will allow BTNEP to address the coastal land loss problem through every available vegetative avenue.

“As our volunteer program has grown, BTNEP has been able to tackle restoration efforts with an ever greater diversity of native plant species beneficial to animals utilizing these habitats,” said Matt Benoit, BTNEP Plant Materials Specialist. “With the addition of a greenhouse to BTNEP’s existing shadehouse, we will be able to meet our objective of diversifying the plant species we use in our restoration projects and provide new habitat that our estuarine species depend upon.”

A major benefit of the greenhouse is that BTNEP will now be able to add black mangroves to their suite of woody species being used. Black mangroves being very susceptible to the cold require protection during grow out over the winter. With the addition of the greenhouse, BTNEP will now be able to collect and grow out mangroves over the two winters needed to get them to a size in which they can survive in the wild. Black mangroves planted in the estuary will provide habitat benefitting avian and fish species.

“We are excited to partner with The Mosaic Company,” said Benoit. “We appreciate their interest in helping us expand our Coastal Restoration Planting Program.”

Steve Susick, General Manager Mosaic Louisiana Operations, said, “We are honored to partner with BTNEP and continue our commitment to habitat conservation. The Native Plant Greenhouse will help grow much needed plants for Louisiana wetlands, and volunteers from around the state will have opportunities to play a vital role in coastal restoration." said Steve Susick, General Manager Mosaic Louisiana Operations.

The Mosaic Company is the world’s leading producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash, two essential crop nutrients. Driven by its mission to help the world grow the food it needs, Mosaic is committed to strengthening global food security and protecting critical water resources. The Mosaic Company and The Mosaic Company Foundation make investments in and partner with best-of class leaders in the focus areas of food, water, and local community investments. More information about Mosaic is available at www.mosaicco.com.

BTNEP is one of the 28 national estuary programs in the United States. All or parts of sixteen Louisiana parishes are located in the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary system. The organization was established under the EPA Clean Water Act to protect coastal resources. BTNEP is a partnership of government, businesses, scientists, conservation organizations, agricultural interests and individuals for the preservation, protection, and restoration for the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary in southeast Louisiana. For more information on BTNEP, visit our website page at www.btnep.org or like us on Facebook.