Aid for the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico Header

Dear ASLA Members,

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill, now estimated to be the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history, will have enormous impacts on local and regional ecosystems. The Guardian says the true impact on surrounding ecosystems could take months or years to determine. "Experts say the unprecedented depth of the spill, combined with the use of chemicals that broke the oil down before it reached the surface, pose an unknown threat."

Louisiana, the state hardest hit by the crisis so far, is now seeing pollution on 100 miles of its 400-mile coastline. "State officials have reported sheets of oil soiling wetlands and seeping into marine and bird nurseries, leaving a stain of sticky crude on cane that binds the marshes together." Wildlife refuges now demonstrate "no life." Officials report that at least 491 birds, 227 turtles, and 27 mammals, including dolphins, have been found dead along the coast so far.

Clean-up and ecosystem restoration work must be done with care. The New York Times writes that local government officials, and conservation and citizen groups have been concerned with the speed and quality of clean-up activities they’ve seen so far. "Environmentalists accuse workers of running roughshod over wildlife and delicate grasses. Conversely, state and local officials are worried that the crews are not doing enough, fast enough. And most agree that the effort has been wildly uneven."

Carrying out President Barack Obama’s call for a six-month Gulf of Mexico oil spill mitigation plan will involve launching a range of ecological restoration projects. Given the spill has already affected over 100 miles of shoreline marshes, beaches, and inland bays, we must implement efficient and cost-effective decontamination projects to protect these delicate, coastal ecosystems. 

ASLA recently sent a letter to former Senator Bob Graham, Hon. ASLA, applauding the efforts of President Obama's Commission on the BP oil spill to develop a remediation and mitigation strategy for affected areas. Senator Graham and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William Reilly are serving as co-chairs of the Commission. The letter highlights the expertise of landscape architects in site remediation, and offers the expertise of the Society and its members in helping the Commission address the ecological and economic impact of this catastrophe.

ASLA’s 17,000 members are a key resource as states craft action plans to mitigate the coastline effects of the oil spill. By employing natural systems, landscape architects can offer a depth of knowledge on how to plan and design restoration projects that are low-risk and sustainable. Such projects will benefit wildlife, industries dependent on the Gulf of Mexico, and citizens of Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas.

We encourage you to donate your time and funds to restore the Gulf of Mexico ecosystems to their original state.

Gary Scott Signature
Gary D. Scott, FASLA, President

Nancy Somerville signature
Nancy C. Somerville, Hon. ASLA, EVP/CEO

The Alabama Coastal Foundation

Audubon Nature Institute: Sea Turtle and Marine Mammal Response Fund

Audubon Society

City of Biloxi, Mississippi

Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana

Florida State Emergency Response Team

Mobile Baykeeper

National Wildlife Federation

State of Alabama

State of Louisiana

Tampa Bay Watch

Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research

Volunteer Louisiana

Relief Hotlines
To report oiled wildlife, call

To discuss oil-related damage, call

To report oiled shoreline or request volunteer information, call


Kevin Fry
Director, PR and

JR Taylor
PR Coordinator