All posts by Save Our Cypress Coalition

Mulch ban praised; critic assailed


Sept. 13th 2007 – Baton Rouge, The Advocate:
Wal-Mart is to
be commended for its courageous decision to stop buying and selling
cypress mulch made in Louisiana (“Store drops state’s mulch,” Sept. 6).

But readers will be understandably confused by the
predictions of economic disaster made by Mr. Buck Vandersteen,
executive director of the Louisiana Forestry Association.

In the past, he and other mulch promoters have insisted
that cypress mulch is a small, unimportant part of the total production
cycle, a mere byproduct, and that its production is too insignificant
to be of any concern. Now he claims that Wal-Mart’s decision will cause
an entire mill to close.

But his reaction actually reinforces the concerns that a
growing number of Louisiana citizens have about the conversion of our
cypress swamps to mulch.

A growing market at the national and regional retail
levels for mulch demands an ever-growing volume of the product, and we
have already seen the result: more swamps being logged strictly for
mulch. Mere assertions by the LFA that whatever they do is sustainable
are not sufficient.

The LFA’s vision for the future of Louisiana’s cypress
swamps — bagged as mulch at your local big-box store — is not one that
most of the state’s citizens share. Nor do most landowners.

Sadly, the LFA’s insistence on its misleading agenda has
helped deny landowners other opportunities for benefiting from their
lands through innovative alternative programs.

Marylee M. Orr, executive director
Louisiana Environmental Action Network/
Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper
Baton Rouge

State losing protection for mulch

Oct. 9th 2007 – Baton Rouge, The Advocate: Re: “When did swamps become ‘ours’?” Letter to the editor, Sept 21.

The cypress swamps may not be ‘ours’, but we all certainly deserve the storm protection they provide.

Is it fair for landowners to expect compensation for the public good that their cypress forests provide? I think so.

And
this newspaper discussed the state’s budding initiative to do just that
in the Sept 24 Acadiana edition article, “State initiative looks to buy
coastal forests.”

While the Department of Natural Resources develops
programs such as these and while numerous entities work toward coastal
restoration, the Office of Forestry and the Louisiana Forestry
Association, an industry lobbying group, continue to advocate for the
needless destruction of nonrenewable cypress forests.

Right now, I am looking at an internal memo from the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers that discusses an inquiry about necessary
permits for logging 50,000 acres of cypress forests. And I quote, “The
primary purpose of the operation is for cypress mulch production.”

 

Don't let these trees become garden mulch.

Right now, I am looking at an internal memo from the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers that discusses an inquiry about necessary
permits for logging 50,000 acres of cypress forests. And I quote, “The
primary purpose of the operation is for cypress mulch production.”

So, we are losing our best natural storm protection (yes,
“we” are all losing it) solely for mulch.

 

So, we are losing our best natural storm protection (yes,
“we” are all losing it) solely for mulch. Defenders of cypress mulch
production in Louisiana never mention the fact that the best science on
cypress forests, from the Governor’s Science Working Group on Coastal
Wetland Conservation and Use, has shown that most of the state’s
cypress will not regenerate once cut.

Wal-Mart recognized this fact when it decided not to
accept cypress mulch from Louisiana, and now Wal-Mart is looking toward
other areas of the country as well. Lowe’s and Home Depot also have a
responsibility to stop selling unsustainable cypress mulch, no matter
where it is harvested.

In the wake of Wal-Mart’s decision, the logging industry’s
stranglehold on Baton Rouge has been loosened, and it is time for the
state to take more significant action to protect valuable cypress
forests.

Right now, it’s still legal to clear-cut cypress on state
lands, and state agencies can use cypress mulch. That means the lands
that we own are at risk, and our tax dollars can buy a product that is
destroying our natural storm protection.

The DNR program only has $18 million, which isn’t going to
go far enough. The governor should do everything in her power to
protect the state’s cypress and landowners in order to leave behind a
proud legacy of conservation and natural hurricane protection.

Dan Favre

Campaign Organizer, Gulf Restoration Network

New Orleans

 

Washington Post – Storm Protection Turned Into Mulch

Wednesday, November 21, 2007; Page A16

As recounted in "Katrina, Rita Caused Forestry Disaster" [front page,
Nov. 16], the two Gulf Coast hurricanes in 2005 had an overwhelming
impact on forests. But one species held fast and protected other trees,
wildlife, property and, most important, people. The bald cypress is the
best form of natural storm and flood protection for the Gulf Coast, but
it is ending up in garden beds as mulch.

Research being done at Southeastern Louisiana University shows that
cypress forests were minimally affected by Hurricane Katrina. In the
Pearl River Basin, they helped protect other tree species living in the
understory. Louisiana State University’s Hurricane Center has shown
that four square miles of healthy marsh reduces storm surge by a foot.
Those same scientists say that cypress swamps provide even better
protection.

Unfortunately, our best natural storm protection, which also provides
wildlife habitat, water filtration and eco-tourism opportunities, is
being destroyed to supply the garden departments of Lowe’s, Home Depot
and Wal-Mart. Cypress are being clear-cut and whole trees are being
used solely to produce garden mulch. Many of these trees are not
growing back.

Starting next year, Wal-Mart will no longer sell cypress mulch from
Louisiana, which is laudable, but forests in Florida and other states
continue to fall. Lowe’s cannot enforce a moratorium it declared on
buying mulch from a specific region because there is no way to verify
mulch sources and no credible certification program.

These chains promote their environmental policies, but until they stop
selling unsustainable cypress mulch, no matter where it is logged,
those promises will ring hollow here in the Gulf region.

DAN FAVRE
Campaign Organizer
Gulf Restoration Network
New Orleans

Link to the Washington Post

 

Cypress Trees Belong in the Ground, Not in Bags

 

Cypress Trees Belong in the Ground, Not in Bags
By Joe Murphy
Nov 29, 2007 – 3:44:59 PM
  
A Florida cypress forest is a beautiful thing.  Cypress trees provide
habitat for threatened and endangered species, critical areas for
migratory birds, protect our communities from flooding, filter our
waters, and are part of the amazing experience of being in nature in
Florida.  They are a valuable and intrinsic element of all that is wild
and free in Florida. They belong in the ground, in our wetlands, and
along our coastlines….not in plastic bags as mulch.

Cypress forests in Louisiana, Florida, and throughout the Gulf are
being clear-cut to produce cypress mulch. Whole swamp ecosystems are
being lost and the entire trees are being ground up to be sold in the
garden departments of Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s. These forests
and wetlands are literally being sold off for two dollars a bag. It’s
like shredding the Constitution to make post-it notes: a national
treasure is being turned into a disposable product.

The Gulf Restoration Network and the Save Our Cypress Coalition
(www.saveourcypress.org) have presented Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, and Home
Depot with extensive evidence of the destruction that is caused from
cypress mulch. All three companies recognize it’s a problem, but none
of them have taken the concrete step that’s necessary to live up to the
environmental commitments that they tout so loudly. The Home Depot,
Lowe’s, and Wal-Mart need to stop selling cypress mulch.

Cypress mulch is an unsustainable and unnecessary product, and there
are other options out there. Melaleuca mulch, harvested from invasive
exotic trees, is a great alternative and a way to protect the
Everglades while saving cypress trees. Pine straw, pine nuggets,
eucalyptus are other alternatives.  And of course, there are always the
leaves that fell in the driveway or the grass clippings from your yard.

Cypress Mulch
As a native and life long Floridian, cypress trees are as essential to
my existence as Florida beaches and sunsets. They are a part of what
makes Florida, Florida. They are essential to the landscape, the
culture, the history, and future of this state and all who love her.

The Gulf Restoration Network is proud to be working with groups like
the Sierra Club, local Audubon Society Chapters, and Florida Defenders
of the Environment to spread the word about protecting cypress forests.
Together we can protect wetlands, rivers, and swamps in Florida
ensuring their cypress filled banks are there for wildlife, and future
generations.

Please take a moment on your next shopping trip to tell the store
manager that you don’t want the company to sell cypress mulch, and
visit www.healthygulf.org to send a message directly to the CEOs of
Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s.  Bad things only continue when good
people, people of heart and conscience, stay silent.  As the Lorax
would remind us, be a voice for and speak for the trees.

To learn more about the campaign and to get involved in this effort
please contact Joe Murphy of the Gulf Restoration Network at
352-583-0870, or joe@healthygulf.org

 

Link to The Observer News 

State losing protection for mulch

Oct. 9th 2007 – Baton Rouge, The Advocate: Re: “When did swamps become ‘ours’?” Letter to the editor, Sept 21.

The cypress swamps may not be ‘ours’, but we all certainly deserve the storm protection they provide.

Is it fair for landowners to expect compensation for the public good that their cypress forests provide? I think so.

And this newspaper discussed the state’s budding initiative to do just that in the Sept 24 Acadiana edition article, “State initiative looks to buy coastal forests.”

While the Department of Natural Resources develops programs such as these and while numerous entities work toward coastal restoration, the Office of Forestry and the Louisiana Forestry Association, an industry lobbying group, continue to advocate for the needless destruction of nonrenewable cypress forests.

Right now, I am looking at an internal memo from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that discusses an inquiry about necessary permits for logging 50,000 acres of cypress forests. And I quote, “The primary purpose of the operation is for cypress mulch production.”

So, we are losing our best natural storm protection (yes, “we” are all losing it) solely for mulch. Defenders of cypress mulch production in Louisiana never mention the fact that the best science on cypress forests, from the Governor’s Science Working Group on Coastal Wetland Conservation and Use, has shown that most of the state’s cypress will not regenerate once cut.

Wal-Mart recognized this fact when it decided not to accept cypress mulch from Louisiana, and now Wal-Mart is looking toward other areas of the country as well. Lowe’s and Home Depot also have a responsibility to stop selling unsustainable cypress mulch, no matter where it is harvested.

In the wake of Wal-Mart’s decision, the logging industry’s stranglehold on Baton Rouge has been loosened, and it is time for the state to take more significant action to protect valuable cypress forests.

Right now, it’s still legal to clear-cut cypress on state lands, and state agencies can use cypress mulch. That means the lands that we own are at risk, and our tax dollars can buy a product that is destroying our natural storm protection.

The DNR program only has $18 million, which isn’t going to go far enough. The governor should do everything in her power to protect the state’s cypress and landowners in order to leave behind a proud legacy of conservation and natural hurricane protection.

Dan Favre

Campaign Organizer, Gulf Restoration Network

New Orleans

The Toll of Producing Cypress Mulch

The Washington Post, May 19 2008; Page A16

The May 11 Business article "Shreds, Reds and Stony Beds" recommended the use of cypress mulch. But the Sierra Club,
along with its partners in the Save Our Cypress Coalition, has been
fighting for years against the destructive and unsustainable logging
practices of the cypress mulch industry.

Louisiana, Florida and the other Gulf states are paying a premium so
that unknowing consumers can use cypress mulch in their gardens.
Cypress mulch is not a byproduct of milling operations. The mulch
industry is clear-cutting tens of thousands of acres of century-old
trees, which lack the commonly touted rot- and insect-resistant
characteristics of the ancient growth, and is putting them into a
chipper and sending them off to your local retailer or garden center. 

While the federal government is setting aside billions of dollars to
restore storm-damaged and eroding coastlines, our best natural storm
protection is being clear-cut at an alarming rate for the sole purpose
of making mulch. And despite claims by the forestry industry, the
cypress trees are not growing back.

Until major retailers such as Lowe’s, Home Depot and Wal-Mart
take a stand against selling cypress mulch from clear-cut forests, we
will continue to permanently lose vital storm protection and precious
habitat for our fishing industry and our endangered and threatened
species.

Jeffrey Dubinsky
Central, La.

The writer is chair of the Baton Rouge Group of the Sierra Club and Internet organizer for the Save Our Cypress Coalition.

The Washington Post  

Open letters sent to “The Big Three”!

Letter to Home Depot

September 4, 2007

Frank Blake, CEO The Home Depot, Inc. 2455 Paces Ferry Rd. NW Atlanta, GA 30339

Dear Mr. Blake:

We,
the undersigned, are greatly concerned about Home Depot contributing to
the destruction of cypress forests in the Gulf Coast and throughout the
country. Cypress deforestation for mulch is compromising the
sustainability of our coast and its communities into the future. We
formally request that Home Depot immediately cease all sales of cypress
mulch.

Cypress forests are the Gulf Coast’s best natural storm and flooding defenses
1

, 2

, and they provide habitat for important wildlife. Comparing the
effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the importance of wetlands as a
natural buffer to storm surge, hurricane force, and flooding was
remarkably clear, and cypress forests stand out as the best natural
storm protection. Unlike the 217 square miles of wetlands that were
destroyed by the two storms
3

, cypress forests were almost completely unaffected and, if not logged, will remain as valuable protection from future
catastrophes4.

In addition to protecting people, these forests are important habitat
for threatened and endangered species like the Louisiana black bear,
the Florida panther, the bald eagle, and the recently rediscovered
ivory-billed woodpecker. Each year, nearly the entire system of
migratory neo-tropical songbirds, and many of the western neotropical
species, migrate through Louisiana’s wetlands. These swamps also
support more than 100 species of fish and shellfish
5

.

In light of Home Depot’s new sustainability initiatives,
you undoubtedly see the importance in protecting areas that support
such biodiversity and defend human life and property. In the “Twenty
First Century Leadership” speech that you gave on October 24, 2005, you
stated, “We should view the environment as Katrina in slow motion.
Environmental loss threatens our health and the health of the natural
systems we depend on.” We commend many of your company’s initiatives to
address environmental concerns, and we thank you for all your help in
the wake of Katrina. Now, one of the easy answers to your question,
“What would it take for Home Depot to be that company – the one we were
after Katrina . . . at our best . . . all the time?”, is for Home
Depot to be an industry leader and stop selling cypress mulch6.

1 Wold, Amy. “Researchers: Forests better at weakening hurricane surge”. The Baton Rouge Advocate. 28 April 2007.
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/7233386.html

2 Whitt, Toni. “Environmentalists say cypress belongs in swamps, not gardens.” Sarasota Herald Tribune. 28 April 2007.
http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070428/NEWS/704280458/-1/xml

3 Barras, John A. Land area change in coastal Louisiana
after the 2005 hurricanes—a series of three maps: U.S. Geological
Survey Open-File Report 06-1274. 2006.
http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2006/1274/

4 Kohl, Dr. Barry and Shaffer, Dr. Gary. “Mulching Our
Defenses- Cypress mulch and our coast”. Presentation to Sierra Club New
Orleans Group. United Methodist Church, New Orleans. 14 January 2007. 5 Coastal Wetland Forest Conservation and Use Science Working Group. Conservation, Protection and Unitlization of Louisiana’s Coastal Wetland Forests. 03 April 2005.
http://www.coastalforestswg.lsu.edu/

Cypress mulch is an inherently unsustainable and unnecessary
product, and sustainable alternatives are readily available. Industrial
logging of cypress swamps may not be sustainable anywhere, as this is
an incredibly complex ecosystem and cypress trees require specific
growing conditions. A report released in 2005 by the Governor’s Coastal
Wetland Forest Conservation
and Use Science Working Group in Louisiana7, shows that, due to changes in hydrology, many

of the cypress forests will never regenerate once cut. Anecdotal
evidence indicates that clear-cutting of cypress prohibits regeneration
because any saplings are quickly crowded out by invasive species, like
Chinese tallow. Similar concerns about deforestation and regeneration
are also being raised outside of Louisiana. Production numbers from
Florida show that cypress is being harvested more quickly than it can
regenerate, and 47% of total production is for
landscaping mulch8.

Total loss of coastal wetland forests could become a very real threat if current trends continue.

Some cypress forests are being clear-cut and entire trees are being used to make mulch
9

. Yet, suppliers and, sadly, Home Depot continue to claim that
the cypress products sold are sustainable. Our coalition has gathered
extensive evidence of the irreparable damages resulting from logging
for cypress mulch, much of which we’ve presented to your company
10,


11

. Sustainability claims, on the other hand, have not been
supported by any factual evidence. The cypress mulch industry is
irreversibly harming these amazing ecosystems.

Meanwhile,
sustainable mulch alternatives exist, and some are already capable of
delivering on the commercial scale that your company must require. The
innovative FloriMulch is made from melaleuca
12

, an invasive species that is harming Florida’s wetlands. Pine
straw can be raked up from existing pine plantations to provide
sustainable mulch on a very large scale
13

. Other options include farmed eucalyptus, pine bark, and more creative choices like pecan shells.

Individual
consumers can only make a small difference, but Home Depot has the
retail power to make an enormous difference towards ensuring that these
cypress forests and the natural flood protection and other ecosystem
values they provide are not lost forever.

Please be a national industry leader and cease the sale of all cypress mulch products from Home Depot stores today.

Sincerely,

6
Scott, H. Lee. “Twenty First Century Leadership”. Presented on October
24, 2005.
http://walmartstores.com/Files/21st%20Century%20Leadership.pdf 7 Coastal Wetland Forest Conservation and Use Science Working Group. Conservation, Protection and Unitlization of Louisiana’s Coastal Wetland Forests. 03 April 2005.
http://www.coastalforestswg.lsu.edu/

8 Pasco County Cooperative Extension Service, University
of Florida. “Why We Recommend That You Not Use Cypress Mulch in Your
Landscape”.
http://pasco.ifas.ufl.edu/hort/mulches.htm

9
www.saveourcypress.org

. Image Gallery. 10 Kohl, Dr. Barry. “Cypress Mulching Operations in Louisiana”. Presented to Wal-Mart on March 16, 2007. 11
Save Our Cypress Coalition. “Please stop selling cypress mulch”. Letter
with attachments to Tyler Elm, Senior Director Corporate Strategy and
Business Sustainability. 29 August 2006. 12 Forestry Resources, Inc. “The FloriMulch Family”.
http://www.gomulch.com/index.cfm/name-


FloriMulchLanding

13 Keller, Mike. “Save the cypress campaign may help Miss.: Pine straw a fine mulch alternative.” Mississippi SunHerald. 18 November 2006.

SAVE OUR CYPRESS COALITION

Dean A. Wilson Executive Director Atchafalaya Basinkeeper Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Cynthia Sarthou Executive Director Gulf Restoration Network New Orleans, Louisiana

Marylee Orr Executive Director Louisiana Environmental Action Network Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Carlton Dufrechou Executive Director Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation Metairie, Louisiana

Paul
Orr Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper Baton Rouge, Louisiana Dr. Mark Ford
Executive Director Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana Baton Rouge,
Louisiana

Dr. Barry Kohl President Louisiana Audubon Council Baton Rouge, LA

Cathy Coats Conservation Chairperson Baton Rouge Audubon society Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Leslie March Chair Delta chapter of the Sierra Club New Orleans, Louisiana

SIGNEES:

Steve Fleischli President Waterkeeper Alliance Irvington, New York

Francisco Ollervides Irvington, New York

Rick Bryan Conservation Chair Central Louisiana Audubon Society Pineville, Louisiana

Lauren Stewart Co-President ECO at Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Rick Bryan Executive Director Hunters for Hardwoods Pineville, Louisiana

Charles Fryling Jr. President Louisiana Audubon Council Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Michael Tritico Executive Director RESTORE Lake Charles, Louisiana

Karen Wimpelberg Board President The Alliance for Affordable Energy New Orleans, Louisiana

Harvey Stern Founder Louisiana Purchase Cypress Legacy Project New Orleans, LA

Charles Pattison Executive Director 1000 Friends of Florida Tallahassee, FL

Mary Whitworth Bayou Preservation Association Houston, TX

Sam Stearns Public Education Coordinator Friends of Bell Smith Springs Stonefort, Illinois

Monique Harden Natalie Walker Lead Attorneys Advocates for Environmental Human Rights New Orleans, LA

Dave Bulloch American Littoral Society, SE Chapter Sarasota, FL

Louisiana ACORN New Orleans, LA

Michael Roberts Association of Family Fishermen Barataria, LA

Bob Stokes President Galveston Bay Foundation Webster, TX

Jim Ragland Frank Bonifay Alligator Bayou Tours/Spanish Lake Wildlife Refuge and Botanical Gardens, Inc. Prairieville, LA

Louis Skrmetta Captain Ship Island Excursions Biloxi, MS Dogwood Alliance Asheville, NC

Monica Ferroe Founder and Director Raise Awareness New Orleans New Orleans, LA

Charles Ansell Chicagoan for Environmental Responsibility Chicago, IL

Danielle Gaubert President Loyola University Community Action Program New Orleans, LA

Sunshine Bond Shaina Chimes Chad Carson Co-Chairs Loyola University Environmental Action New Orleans, LA

Nancy Hirschfield President Informed Choices Slidell, LA

Brant Olson Rainforest Action Network San Francisco, CA

Susan Spicer Owner and Head Chef Bayona Restaurant New Orleans, LA

Captain Keven W. London BLAST and CAST Guide Service


www.myspace.com/outdoorguide

Corpus Christi, TX

Captain Ginger Rushing Attakapas Adventures Napoleonville, LA

Mark Ferrulo Executive Director Environment Florida Tallahassee, FL

John Swingle Group Chair Central Florida Sierra Club Orlando, FL

Marianne Cufune President Environment Matters Consulting Tampa, FL

Ed Ross Director Community Stepping Stones Tampa, FL

William Lorenzen Executive Director Tampa Bay Conservancy Tampa, FL President Clearwater Audubon Society Clearwater, FL

Phil Comptomn President Friends of the River Tampa, FL

Gayle Reynolds Chairwoman Manatee/Sarasota Sierra Club Sarasota, FL

Bill Stokes Alliance for a Livable Pinellas St. Petersburg, FL

Dan Kandz Conservation Chair St. Pete Audubon Society St. Petersburg, FL

Karen Ahlers President Putnam County Environmental Council Palatka, FL

Marian Ryan Conservation Chair Polk Sierra Club Lakeland, FL

Manley Fuller President Florida Wildlife Federation Tallahassee, FL

Don Chaney Chair Healthy Gulf Coalition Sarasota, FL

Dan Rametta President Citizens for Sanity Land O’Lakes, FL

Linda Vanderveen President Hernando Audubon Society Brooksville, FL

Paul Trunk Mary Gerken

Chair Suncoast Sierra Club St. Petersburg, FL

Joy Ezell Chairwoman Friends of the Fenholloway River Perry, FL

Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club Tallahassee, FL

Joy Ezell President HOPE for Taylor County, Inc. Perry, FL

Rick Causey Chairman Environmental Alliance of North Florida Perry, FL

Hernando Native Plant Society Brooksville, FL

Karen Orr Director Save Our Wetlands Coalition Gainesville, FL

Beverly Griffiths Chairwoman Tampa Bay Sierra Club Tampa, FL

Julie Wert Board Member Gulf Coast Conservancy Aripeka, FL

Marilyn Blackwell Help Save the Appalachicola River Group Ajppalachicola, Florida

Betsy Roberts Chairwoman Clean Water Network of Florida Tallahassee, FL

National Environmental Trust Washington, DC

Mike Brown President Keep Hillsborough Beautiful Tampa, FL

Pinellas Native Plant Society St. Petersburg, FL

Nick Williams Director Florida Defenders of the Environment Gainesville, FL

Jim Northrup Executive Director Forest Watch Richmond, VT

April Ingle Executive Director Georgia River Network Athens, GA

Michael J. Kellett Executive Director RESTORE: The North Woods Hallowell, ME

Marcus de la Houssaye Owner Operator de la Houssaye’s Swamp Tours Bayou Teche, LA

Coerte Voorhies, Jr. Owner Operator The Atchafalaya Experience Lafayette, LA

Danny and Lyn Willingham Blue Dog Bait, Inc. Slidell, LA

Regional Association of Concerned Environmentalists Kentucky/Southern Illinois

Kristi Hanson President Jackson Purchase Audubon Paducah, KY

Alex Morgan Seattle Audubon Seattle, WA

AIYEEEE Ron “Black” Guidry
www.guidebookamerica.com

A Cajun Man’s Swamp Cruise, Inc.


www.cajunman.com

Houma, LA

Joe Serres President Friends of Living Oregon Waters (FLOW) Grants Pass, OR

Sandra Silfer President League of Women Voters of St. Tammany Covington, LA

Ben Taylor President Lake Maurepas Society Hammond, LA

Loretto O’Reilly President Advocates for Smart Growth Covington, LA

Chris Nogues President Bayou Liberty Association Slidell, LA

Elizabeth Berli Manager Aria Salon Spa Shoppe Alpharetta, GA

Peter Ostroske Old Harbor Outfitters Block Island, RI

Stan Kroh President Tampa Audubon Society

Chuck Morton President Hernando Environmental Land Protectors Weeki Wachee, FL

Gus Muench President Oyster Reef Designs, Inc. Ruskin, FL

Jim Bierly President Citrus Audubon Society Crystal River, FL

Brett Paben Senior Staff Attorney Wildlaw Florida Office Tallahassee, FL

Svetlana Frolova Marketing Director Avant Salons ans Spa Austin, TX

David Gurney President CFACT Hammond, LA

WATERKEEPER ALLIANCE MEMBERS

Altamah Riverkeeper-Altamah Coastkeeper James Holland, Riverkeeper Deborah Sheppard, Coastkeeper Darien, Georgia

Assateague Coastkeeper Kathy Phillips Berlin, Maryland

Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper Eliza Smith Steinmeier Baltimore, Maryland

Black
Warrior Riverkeeper Nelson Brooke, Riverkeeper Charles Scribner -
Director of Development John Kinney – Legal Program Coordinator Mark
Martin – Chief Prosecuting Attorney David Whiteside – Founder / Board
member: Birmingham, Alabama

Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper Jeff Turner Sedley, Virginia

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Julie Barrett O’Neill Buffalo, New York

Canadian Detroit Riverkeeper Kelly St. Pierre Windsor, Ontario Canada

Canadian Detroit Riverkeeper Ken Cloutier Windsor, Onterio Canada.

Cape Fear Coastkeeper Mike Giles Wilmington, North Carolina

Casco Baykeeper/Friends of Casco Bay Joe Payne South Portland, Maine

Catawaba Riverkeeper Foundation, Inc. Donna Marie Lisenby Charlotte, North Carolina

Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper Michael William Mullen Banks, Alabama

Cook Inletkeeper Bob Shavelson Homer, Alaska

Coosa River Basin Initiative Joe Cook Rome, Georgia

Detroit Riverkeeper Robert Burns Detroit, Michigan

Emerald Coastkeeper Chips Kirschenfeld Pensacola, Florida

French Broad Waterkeeper Hartwell Carson Asheville, North Carolina

Friends of the Detroit River Peter J. Benz Detroit, Michigan

Galveston Baykeeper Charlotte Wells

Shoreacres, Texas

Grand Riverkeeper Labrador Inc. Roberta Frampton Benefiel Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador Newfoundland, Canada

Grand Riverkeeper, Oklahoma Earl Hatley Vinita, Oklahoma

Grand Traverse Baykeeper John Nelson Traverse City, Michigan

Great Salt Lakekeeper Jeff Salt Salt Lake City , Utah

Hackensack Riverkeeper Captain Bill Sheehan Hackensack, New Jersey

Housatonic Riverkeeper – Housatonic River Initiative Timothy Gray Lenoxdale, Massachusetts

Hurricane Creekkeeper/Friends of Hurricane Creek John Wathen Tuscaloosa , Alabama

Kansas Riverkeeper/Friends of the Kaw Laura Calwell Lawrence, Kansas

Klamath Riverkeeper Regina Chichizola Orleans, California

Colorado Riverkeeper John Weisheit Living Rivers Moab, Utah

Long Island Soundkeeper Terry Backer East Norwalk, Connecticut

Louisiana Bayoukeeper, Inc Tracy Kuhns Barataria, Louisiana

Lower Neuse Riverkeeper – Neuse River Foundation Larry Baldwin New Bern, North Carolina

Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Michael R. Helfrich York, Pennsylvania

Milwaukee Riverkeeper Cheryl Nenn Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mobile Baykeeper Casi (kc) Callaway Mobile, Alabama

Morava Riverkeeper Helena Kralova Czech Republic, Europe

Mountain Watershed Association Bev Baverman Melcroft, Pennsylvania

New Riverkeeper – New River Foundation Brian Wheat Jacksonville, North Caarolina

New York/New Jersey Baykeeper Andrew Willner Keyport, New Jersey

Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper Chandra Brown Swainsboro, Georgia

Ouachita Rivekeeper Cheryl Slavant Monroe, Louisiana

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper/Pamlico-Tar River

Foundation Heather Jacobs Washington, North Carolina

Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister Quogue, New York

Potomac Riverkeeper Ed Merrifield Washington, DC

Prince William Soundkeeper Jennifer Gibbins Prince William Sound, Alaska

Raritan Riverkeeper Bill Schultz Keasbey, New Jersey

River Advocate Stacey Kronquest Savannah, Georgia

Russian Riverkeeper Don McEnhill Healdsburg, California

San Diego Coastkeeper Bruce Reznik San Diego, California

San Francisco Baykeeper Sejal Choksi San Francisco, California

San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper Gordon Hensley San Luis Obispo, California

Saranac Waterkeeper Jill Reymore Saranac Lake, New York

Satilla Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers Waynesville, Georgia

Savannah Riverkeeper Stacey Kronquest, River Advocate Savannah, Georgia

Shenandoah Riverkeeper Jeff Kelble Boyce, Virginia

South Riverkeeper – South River Federation Drew Koslow Annapolis, Maryland

St. Clair Channelkeeper Doug Martz Harrison TWP, Michigan

St. Johns Riverkeeper Neil A. Armingeon Jacksonville, Florida

Tualatin Riverkeepers Brian Wegener Tigard, Oregon

Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Sally Bethea Atlanta, Georgia

Upper Susquehanna Riverkeeper Paul Ortruba – Environeer Mansfield, Pennsylvania

Wabash Riverkeeper Rae Schnapp, Ph.D. Hoosier Environmental Council Indianapolis, Indiana

Waccamaw Riverkeeper Christine Ellis Conway South Carolina

Waterkeepers Australia Ltd. Stacey Bloomfield Carlton VIC, Australia

West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Inc. Bob Gallagher Shady Side, Maryland

Western Lake Erie Association/Waterkeeper Sandy Bihn Oregon, Ohio

Youghiogheny Riverkeeper Krissy Kasserman Melcroft, Pennsylvania

 

Wal-Mart to Stop Selling Cypress Mulch From Louisiana

 

For immediate release: Contact:
September 5, 2007

Dan Favre, 504-525-1528 ext. 209 or 401-965-7908
Dean Wilson, 225-692-4114

 

Wal-Mart to Stop Selling Cypress Mulch From Louisiana
Important Step Towards Preserving Endangered Cypress Swamps


New Orleans, LA- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has informed its suppliers that, effective January 1, 2008, the
company will no longer buy and sell cypress mulch that is harvested, bagged, or manufactured in the state
of Louisiana. The Save Our Cypress Coalition, a group of environmental organizations, has been publicly
pressuring the major retailers Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s to stop selling cypress mulch since
November 2006.


“It’s a tremendous step that Wal-Mart has recognized that cypress sustainability is a serious concern.”
said Mark Ford, Executive Director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, “The Save Our Cypress
Coalition sincerely thanks Wal-Mart for the action they’ve taken in Louisiana, and we will continue to
work to completely end the sale of unsustainable cypress mulch.”
The decision comes on the heels of another recent action by a home retailer that acknowledges the
concerns of the Save Our Cypress coalition, while failing to implement practical solutions to address
those concerns. Lowe’s has stated it has implemented a moratorium on mulch from cypress harvested
south of I-10/I-12 in Louisiana, excluding the Pearl River Basin. But there is no enforceable mechanism
for ensuring that the moratorium is actually being upheld by suppliers. Home Depot and Lowe’s have
claimed in the past that their suppliers do not source from coastal Louisiana, but the Atchafalaya
Basinkeeper has gathered evidence proving this assertion to be false. The evidence is available at
www.saveourcypress.org.


“Suppliers of cypress mulch have proven willing to hide the source of their product in the past,” said
Dean Wilson, from the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper. “Wal-Mart recognizes the difficulties with verification
and is acting accordingly by identifying the whole state as an unacceptable source.”
A new interactive cypress map, at www.lmrk.org/cypressmap.html, demonstrates chain-of-custody
concerns through documented examples of clear-cutting and cypress mulch production in Louisiana. As
the map information shows, many of the brands of mulch produced in Louisiana are already labeled with
addresses in Florida, Texas, and Arkansas.


“We’re happy to hear that some cypress forests will be saved from the mulch machine, but how can Wal-
Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s ignore Florida’s wetlands?” asked Joe Murphy, Florida Programs
Coordinator for the Gulf Restoration Network. According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension,
cypress trees in Florida are being cut out of the wetlands at a rate faster than they can regenerate, and
almost half of the cypress cut is used for mulch.


The Save Our Cypress Coalition continues to call on Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s to stop selling
cypress mulch that is not certified as sustainable, no matter where the logging occurs. While cautiously
celebrating Wal-Mart’s move in Louisiana, the coalition submitted formal letters signed by over 160
organizations, from across the US and around the world, to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s asking
the companies to stop selling cypress mulch. Supporters include conservation groups, garden clubs,
anglers, eco-tourism operators, and members of the faith-based community.


Cypress forests are heralded by scientists to be some of the Gulf’s best natural storm and flooding
protection. The swamps also support a wide array of wildlife including fish and crustaceans, migratory
birds, and threatened and endangered species like the bald eagle and Florida panther. The swamps are of
national importance to protect the economy, the unique environment of the Gulf Coast, and people.

#####
The Save Our Cypress Coalition is comprised of organizations and businesses that are dedicated to
preserving cypress ecosystems and the ecological benefits, flood protection, and economic opportunities
they provide. Leaders of the efforts in Louisiana include the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Coalition to
Restore Coastal Louisiana, Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club, Gulf Restoration Network, Lake
Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Louisiana Audubon Council, Louisiana Environment Action Network,
and the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper. For more information please visit, www.saveourcypress.org.

pdf wal-mart to stop selling cypress mulch from louisiana

Which mulch where – Chicago Tribune


May. 18th 2007 – Chicago Tribune.com: Which mulch where. 

I avoid cypress — the material of much cheap mulch — because now cypress mulch often comes from swamps that have been clear-cut for the purpose. Instead, if I run short of leaves I look for mulches that are by-products of the lumber industry,
such as the shredded hardwood or pine bark mulch. I hate dyed mulches,
though. The current fashion for violently orange-red mulch hurts my
eyes.


Read the full article here. 

Choose mulch carefully and your plants will thank you

St. Petersburg Times –
Published October 19, 2007

 

At the beginning of the column I mentioned an article about mulch I
recently read. It didn’t cover new material but did remind me why I no
longer use cypress mulch in my yard. Cypress trees, obviously, are
harvested to make cypress mulch. These trees are not farmed for this
purpose. They are naturally occurring trees. That means their numbers
are dwindling because of this harvesting.

The issue gets
complicated because harvesting cypress trees provides income for some
Florida families and there are politics involved. I just keep it simple
for myself and don’t use cypress mulch. If you would like to educate
yourself on the topic so you can make an informed decision, visit the
Web site of the Gulf Restoration Network at healthygulf.org.

 

Read the entire article here.