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Pontchartrain Conservancy and Valero Plant 500 Seedlings in St. Bernard Parish

Image courtesy of Pontchartrain Conservancy.

Trees will help enhance the natural coastal wetland buffer, mitigate effects of storm surge

NEW ORLEANS – Last week, Pontchartrain Conservancy, a leader in coastal sustainability, water quality and environmental education partnered with Valero to plant 500 bald cypress, live oak and water tupelo seedlings in the Bayou Dupre central wetlands area of St. Bernard Parish.

Employees from Valero’s Meraux Refinery volunteered their time to assist Pontchartrain Conservancy staff in planting the seedlings across 2.5 acres just southeast of the refinery near Violet, La. These trees will help enhance the natural coastal wetland buffer and mitigate effects of storm surge.

“As many parts of our region continue to face increasing environmental threats and challenges, it is important for us to restore the wetlands that act as vital line of defense against damaging storm surge and winds,” said Pontchartrain Conservancy Executive Director Kristi Trail. “On average, every 2.7 miles of coastal wetlands can reduce storm surge by up to one foot. We’re extremely grateful to partner with Valero on this important restoration project.”

In January 2021, Valero Energy presented a check for $1 million to Pontchartrain Conservancy to fund a multi-year plan for local swamp restoration. Over the past 10 years, Valero has partnered with Pontchartrain Conservancy to provide both monetary support and volunteers to attend tree plantings hosted by the nonprofit organization. Collaborative efforts have included 80,000 trees planted and approximately 1,146 tCO2e sequestered annually. In addition, they have worked together to restore over 400 acres of habitat.

“Valero’s $1 million contribution to the Pontchartrain Conservancy is not only a financial investment but also a volunteer commitment to assist with local wetland restoration efforts,” said Vice President and General Manager of Meraux’s Refinery Leslie Sullivan. “Valero has a long-standing partnership with Pontchartrain Conservancy and we were excited to have our Meraux employees participate in this tree planting project.”

The planting site was chosen based on Pontchartrain Conservancy’s scientific research and suitability studies. Pontchartrain Conservancy studied soil and water samples, vegetation growth rates, water levels and other factors in this area before determining the site as high suitability for new trees.

About Pontchartrain Conservancy: Pontchartrain Conservancy, formerly the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, is a New Orleans-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to an environmentally sustainable, prosperous and resilient region. Our mission is to drive environmental sustainability and stewardship through scientific research, education and advocacy. Pontchartrain Conservancy consists of a board of directors representing Lake Pontchartrain Basin parishes and regulatory agencies. For more information or to get involved, visit Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @PontchartrainConservancy and on Twitter at @OurBasin.

About Valero: Valero Energy Corporation, through its subsidiaries (collectively, “Valero”), is an international manufacturer and marketer of transportation fuels and petrochemical products. Valero is a Fortune 50 company based in San Antonio, Texas, and it operates 15 petroleum refineries with a combined throughput capacity of approximately 3.2 million barrels per day and 13 ethanol plants with a combined production capacity of 1.72 billion gallons per year. The petroleum refineries are located in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and the ethanol plants are located in the Mid-Continent region of the U.S. Valero also is a joint venture partner in Diamond Green Diesel, which operates a renewable diesel plant in Norco, Louisiana. Diamond Green Diesel is North America’s largest biomass-based diesel plant. Valero sells its products in the wholesale rack or bulk markets in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland and Latin America. Approximately 7,000 outlets carry Valero’s brand names. Please visit for more information 

About Valero in the Community: Valero Energy Corporation, through its subsidiaries (collectively, “Valero”), and the Valero Energy Foundation are committed to improving the quality of life in communities where Valero has major operations. Valero, its employees and the foundation collectively generate more than $58 million in charitable support through direct/in-kind donations, fundraising and volunteerism. Valero employees have donated more than 249,000 volunteer hours since 2016 for hundreds of projects in their communities. The foundation provides funding to a variety of nonprofit agencies for programs and services supporting education, basic human needs, health care and civic projects. Through the overwhelming support of sponsors, the foundation’s signature programs, the Valero Texas Open and Benefit for Children, generated more than $16 million in net proceeds in 2021 for charities across the United States.


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