Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana Hires Advocacy Director

NEW ORLEANS — Ethan Melancon is the new advocacy director at the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. He will work with local, state and federal government to advance CRCL’s mission to “unite people in action to achieve a thriving, sustainable Louisiana coast for all.”

Melancon, a Thibodaux native who lives in Baton Rouge, joins a team of more than 20 and will also work closely with Restore the Mississippi River Delta, a group of organizations advocating for coastal restoration and protection. 

Melancon is the former executive director of governmental affairs for the Louisiana Department of Education. In that role, he served as the staff lead for all legislative and policy strategy for the department and was the representative for the department and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education at the Legislature. Prior to that, he served as the policy and research project manager at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, where he worked on education and workforce development policies and initiatives. Before that, he worked in both public relations and public policy at the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, the Ehrhardt Group and in the office of U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany.

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Melancon is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he double majored in public relations and political science. He recently received his master’s degree in public administration from Louisiana State University

“CRCL has been a leader in advocating for Louisiana’s coast for a long time, and as a native of coastal Louisiana I’m thrilled to be part of the team,” Melancon said. “Our issues may seem daunting, but there are science-based plans in place to address them, and I’m looking forward to working with lawmakers to bring them to fruition.” 

“Ethan brings deep connections in Baton Rouge and Washington and plenty of policy experience,” said Kim Reyher, CRCL’s executive director. “We believe he’ll build on our past success, and he’s already hit the ground running.” 

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Formed in 1988, CRCL advocates for science-based action. Early on, it called for “the establishment of a new state office with clear public accountability, a comprehensive state legislative mandate, strong support from the governor’s office and adequate funding for coastal restoration.”

 CRCL now operates an Oyster Shell Recycling Program that has returned nearly 14 million pounds of shell to the waters of south Louisiana. Its Native Plants Program has planted more than a million plants and trees across the state’s coast. Through the Future Coastal Leaders program, high school and college students learn about coastal issues and careers in the coastal sector. CRCL also hosts the biennial State of the Coast conference.

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