Cynthia “Cyn” Sarthou has been the Executive Director of the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN) since its inception fifteen years ago. In the time, she took a small environmental organization from one (her) to a robust organization of 12 full-time employees and 3 offices. Through these 15 years, Cyn has kept the GRN true to its mission: to unite and empower people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf region for future generations.
Cyn’s accomplishments are numerous and varied. The Yazoo Pumps, first proposed by the Corps of Engineers in 1941, would have been the world’s largest hydraulic pumping system, predicted to destroy 200,000 acres of wetlands in the Mississippi Delta. For over a decade, Cyn worked with national and local partners to fight the project. In September 2008, her persistence paid off; the EPA vetoed the project because of its environmental impact.
Cyn ‘s efforts also are helping to control and reduce the Dead Zone; defend Louisiana’s coast by protecting wetlands to prevent another Katrina-style event; and work to empower smaller organizations to have the confidence and ability to enact change at a local level. She recognizes the interdependence of freshwater inputs and the health of the Gulf, and believes that if we want a healthy Gulf, we need healthy rivers and wetlands. Cyn has been widely recognized as an environmental leader throughout the Southeast, the Gulf and the Mississippi River Basin.