2,000 Acre Louisiana Coastal Island Now Protected

NEW ORLEANS, 9/25/2008: A portion of Brazilier Island, a 2,027 tract of marshland on Lake Pontchartrain east of New Orleans, has been purchased by The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and will be added to Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s largest urban wildlife refuge, TPL announced today.

“This is the largest acquisition for conservation of Louisiana coastal land in years and this is the kind of barrier land we need to preserve to build our coast and provide more of a buffer against future storms,” said Larry Schmidt, director of TPL’s Louisiana office.

TPL has completed the purchase of the land from Cedar Bayou, LLC, at a cost of $1.1 million. Next month, TPL plans to sell its portion of Brazilier Island to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It will become part of the Bayou Sauvage NWR, which is located entirely within the city limits of New Orleans, only 15 minutes northeast of the French Quarter. The refuge is now 22,770 acres.

Ken Litzenberger, manager of the Bayou Sauvage NWR, said of the Brazilier Island acquisition, “Brazilier Island is part of the New Orleans East land bridge and is one of the better intact parcels of coastal marsh in the area. In addition to providing wildlife habitat it will also help in a small way to reduce storm surge to the nearby communities. We hope, in the future, to be able to open the lands to both hunting and wildlife observation.”

Brazilier Island is mostly brackish marshland, and includes some of the only marsh along Lake Pontchartrain which remains in a natural state. Migrating birds heavily use it.

Federal money for the project was approved by the Migratory Bid Conservation Commission using dollars generated from federal Duck Stamp sales and import duties on firearms and ammunition. Louisiana’s congressional delegation strongly supported the project.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said, “Coastal marshlands like Brazilier Island represent Louisiana’s first line of natural defense against serious storms. The purchase of this island by The Trust for Public Land will not only preserve habitat for native species and provide an important level of storm protection to local communities, it will also serve as a resource for naturalists and outdoor enthusiasts.”

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1972, protects land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. Since its inception in 1972, TPL has completed more than 3,000 projects in 43 states, protecting more than 2 million acres of land. TPL depends upon the support of individuals, corporations, and foundations.