Walther Named Hero of Conservation Award Finalist
Field & Stream honors CCA volunteer for work leading Louisiana artificial reef program
CCA’s John Walther has been named one of the six finalists for Field & Stream’s 2010 Heroes of Conservation award designed to recognize sportsmen dedicated to the protection of fish and wildlife habitat. Under Walther’s leadership as co chairman of CCA Louisiana’s habitat initiative, the organization has completed five limestone reefs in state waters since 2000 and has another major effort currently underway in Lake Pontchartrain.
“We have worked hard for many years to maintain a sustainable fishery and our efforts are more important than ever now,” says Walther. “Due to coastal erosion, we’re losing a football field of our land every 30 minutes. One way to mitigate these losses and ensure there is future for our fisheries is to restore reef areas and create new ones.”
Nominations for the Heroes of Conservation Award are collected from all over the country and are reviewed by a panel of Field & Stream editors and conservation leaders. The six finalists have been invited to an awards ceremony in Washington DC and are featured in the October issue of Field & Stream magazine. CCA’s Ronnie Luster won the 2006 Hero of Conservation Award for his work launching an abandoned crab trap clean-up program in Texas.
“Habitat creation is a major focus for CCA and the work of people like John and Ronnie shows how our members can make a significant contribution to the future of our fisheries,” said Pat Murray, president of CCA. “John is just a remarkable person and his tenacious effort and vision to see these projects through from concept to completion have created a legacy of conservation that future generations will enjoy and hopefully expand.”
Walther’s first reef project in 2000, at a site that’s known as Bird Island, involved the placement of nearly 8,000 tons of limestone. He is currently involved with a massive reefing project on Lake Pontchartrain that is using recycled concrete from the I-10 Bridge damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“We don’t know what the long-term effects of the oil spill will be, but one thing’s for certain: Recovery is our only option,” Walther says. “I want to make sure that we continue to have enough locations where people can continue to enjoy the sport that’s such a big part of our way of life down here.”
The winner of the 2010 Hero of Conservation Award will be announced on Oct. 6 2010. Click HERE to see a Field & Stream video about John and CCA Louisiana’s artificial reef program.
Coastal Conservation Association is the largest marine resource conservation group of its kind in the nation. With almost 100,000 members in 17 state chapters, CCA has been active in state, national and international fisheries management issues since 1977. For more information visit www.JoinCCA.org