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Delcambre wins Spirit of Community Award for resilience efforts

By: Melissa Schneider / Published: Jun 22,  2015

Delcambre Port Director Wendell Verret, third from left, accepts the Spirit of Community Award on behalf of the Town of Delcambre during the Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Community of Practice annual meeting in St. Petersburg, Fla. Other members of the Climate Community of Practice from Louisiana congratulating the town include Nicole Love of The Nature Conservancy, left, Jennifer Gerbasi from Terrebonne Parish Planning and Zoning, Lauren Land and Dianne Lindstedt of Louisiana Sea Grant, Henri Boulet of Louisiana 1 Coalition, and Jim Wilkins, Melissa Daigle and Katie Lea of Louisiana Sea Grant.

 

The Town of Delcambre, Louisiana, has been recognized for its efforts in planning for a changing climate.

Members of the Climate Community of Practice (a group of professionals in the Gulf who work together to learn how coastal communities can adapt to sea-level rise, precipitation changes and other climate-related issues) selected the town as the winner of the 2015 Spirit of Community Award.

The group presents the Spirit of Community Award each year to one of its member communities at its annual meeting.

Delcambre was nominated because the community understands its climate vulnerabilities and takes action to make itself more resilient. The award also shows that the town engages community members with climate information and resources.

“The Town of Delcambre has rebounded and recovered after 90 percent of its area was flooded during Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008,” said Lauren Land, sustainability coordinator at Louisiana Sea Grant.

Delcambre is a small town of about 2,000 people south of Lafayette in south-central Louisiana.

“The town has leveraged millions of dollars to rebuild infrastructure to increase the sustainability of a shrimping community that can expect future events of severe storm surge,” Land said. “This successful effort launched a series of additional efforts to lead Delcambre toward resilience, including grants to develop a safe harbor for fishing boats, build an elevated grocery store and improve waterfront business resilience.”

An effort to help mom-and-pop shrimp boats in Delcambre stay in business through direct sales has proven successful as the town tries to help those businesses become economically resilient. The website delcambredirectseafood.com offers profiles of local fishermen, what they catch and where and when they will be selling their catch, and post-hurricane infrastructure projects give them places to do business.

Delcambre also is working with its waterfront business owners, mainly seafood processors, to evaluate storm surge models, understand flood insurance issues and learn about hazard mitigation techniques for business owners and their businesses, Land said.

Delcambre Port Director Wendell Verret was presented with the Spirit of Community Award in May at the annual meeting in St. Petersburg, Fla.

“I’ve been to two Climate Community of Practice conferences,” Verret said. “What’s come through is how -- from Texas to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, all the way down to the Florida Keys, and all points in between and along the coast -- it’s the same issue. It’s the same risk. Seeing the effort to try to make those areas more resilient, it means a lot to us to be recognized for what we accomplished and what we are trying to accomplish.”

"...it means a lot to us to be recognized for what we accomplished and what we are trying to accomplish.” - Wendell Verret

The Delcambre Port Commission and the Town of Delcambre work together closely to implement plans for the community that were developed after a number of charrettes, community meetings and assistance from university architectural and business schools.

The Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Community of Practice is made up of more than 400 education, outreach and extension professionals, as well as community leaders and planners, whose work includes contributing to the resilience of coastal communities.

The award has special meaning because recipients must be nominated by their colleagues and voting is open to all members of the Climate Outreach Community of Practice in the entire Gulf of Mexico.

For more information about the Climate Outreach Community of Practice.

For more about Delcambre Direct Seafood, check out its website or Facebook page.

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