from the NEW MEXICO NEWS CONNECTION - A statewide news service for New Mexico
August 28, 2007 - That bag of garden mulch from your local Home Depot, Lowe's or Wal-Mart could contain the Gulf Coast's protection against the next big hurricane. Two years after Katrina, a coalition of conservation groups is urging consumers in New Mexico, and across the country, not to buy cypress mulch, which is often made of trees clear-cut from important swamplands.
It's two years ago this week that Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans - and many New Mexicans may still be carrying the Gulf Coast's natural storm protection home from the store, without even knowing it. Leslie March is the chair of the Sierra Club's Delta Chapter in Louisiana. Her group is part of a coalition calling on consumers to stop buying garden mulch made from clear-cut cypress trees. March says, Click to Hear march1.mp3 ("For every bag that's purchased, they're encouraging the loggers to go back in and cut more cypress, essentially chipping away at our hurricane protection.")
The coalition has been working with Home Depot, Lowe's and Wal-Mart to try to identify mulch made from non-sustainable cypress. According to the coalition there are better mulch alternatives like pine bark, pine needles, melaleuca and eucalyptus. Producers say they only use timber waste to make mulch, not entire trees. But March says that's not what they found when they went into the swamp to see where felled cypress trees end up, Click to Hear march2.mp3 ("And we followed them to mulching operations, and often the mulching operations are bagging them in bags that say that they're from Florida.") For more information visit www.saveourcypress.org .