Six years after Deepwater Horizon spill, local tribes launch conservation corps to help restore bayou

Six years after Deepwater Horizon spill, local tribes launch conservation corps to help restore bayou

CHARENTON, LA (WAFB) - U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell visited the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana on Tuesday to announce a new project focused on coastal tribal restoration with a specific focus on providing employment opportunities for young tribal members across the Gulf Coast.

Over the next two years, the Chitimacha Tribe will receive $100,000 of the $8 million Transocean Deepwater civil settlement announced in 2013 following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

"These projects are about investing in the next generation of tribal leaders. [These leaders] will ensure that not just the Gulf Coast, but tribal homelands around the coast are preserved for generations to come," says Jewell.

The funding will allow the Chitimacha Tribe to double the size of their summer employment program and extend the program for an additional two weeks.

"During the Deepwater Horizon incident, especially while the oil was spewing, we felt helpless and we worried about the impacts not only to the water and other natural resources, but to our cultural resources, including burial sites," says Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Kimberly Walden.  "While this does not fix those issues, it does show that the U.S. Department of the Interior and the RESTORE Council care about Tribes and support their efforts to continue to be good stewards of the lands we currently hold while helping to improve the larger Gulf environment that the Chitimacha people have called home for thousands of years."

The Chitimacha youth corps will concentrate on cleaning up the bayou side of their reservation which borders Bayou Teche.

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