2018 ESA Regional Policy Award Recognizes Representative Walter J. Leger III for His Coastal Restoration Work

103rd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America: 
Extreme events, ecosystem resilience and human well-being
5–10 August 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
For Immediate Release

Contact: Alison Mize, 202-833-8773 ext. 205 or mobile, 703-625-3628  gro.asenull@nosila 

Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present its 11th annual Regional Policy Award to Representative Walter J. Leger III, speaker pro tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives, during the Society’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. The ESA award recognizes an elected or appointed local policymaker who has an outstanding record of informing policy decisions with ecological science.

Representative Walter J. Leger III, speaker pro tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives.

“The Society applauds Rep. Leger’s commitment to science-based restoration of the Gulf Coast,” said ESA President Rich Pouyat. “Louisiana is losing about 75-square kilometers of coastal wetlands and habitat a year. Rep. Leger has demonstrated a consistent interest in coastal issues and raising awareness among policy makers through briefings from ecologists and others about the underlying science of coastal restoration through an unofficial ‘coastal caucus’ in Louisiana’s House of Representatives.”

Leger was first elected as a state legislator in 2007 and represents the Louisiana’s 91st District, which includes parts of New Orleans. Among other priorities, he has championed coastal restoration and preservation. He has worked actively to ensure proper use of funds intended for coastal protection and restoration, including funds stemming from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Leger is an avid supporter of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan that focuses on building and maintaining land and reducing flood risk through large-scale projects such as marsh creation and sediment diversions; structural protection and nonstructural risk reduction; and proactive resilience investments for flood prevention and protection.

“I am honored to receive this award from the Ecological Society of America,” said Rep. Leger. “Having partners like ESA to inform the policymaking process regarding coastal preservation and restoration is vital to the future of Louisiana. Our geography defines us, and we need to continue working towards evidence and science-based solutions to ensure that the story our coastline tells is one of perseverance and longevity.”

ESA President Pouyat will present the 2018 ESA Regional Policy Award at the beginning of the meeting’s Opening Plenary Sunday, Aug. 5 at 5:00 PM in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center La Nouvelle Orleans Ballroom.



2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana
Extreme events, ecosystem resilience and human well-being
5–10 August 2018

Ecologists from 50 U.S. states, U.S. territories, and countries around the world will converge on New Orleans, Louisiana this August for the 103rd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Up to 4,000 attendees are expected to gather for thousands of scientific presentations on breaking research and new ecological concepts at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on August 5 – 10, 2018.

The Opening Plenary features Robert Twilley, executive director of the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program and distinguished professor in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Science at Louisiana State University, who will speak about, “Ecosystem design approaches in a highly engineered landscape of the Mississippi River Delta.” The event is free and open to the general public and will be live-streamed – watch it here on Sunday, August 5 at 5:00 PM.

ESA invites press and institutional public information officers to attend for free. To apply, please contact ESA Public Information Manager Zoe Gentes directly at gro.asenull@setnegz. Walk-in registration will be available during the meeting.


The Ecological Society of America (ESA), founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 9,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in the science of ecology. Visit the ESA website at https://www.esa.org.