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Entergy   The Trust for Public Land

Entergy, Louisiana Partners Celebrate 2,900-acre Addition to Tensas River Refuge Using Innovative Conservation Tool
Addition includes site of 1944 “last stand” for Ivory-billed Woodpecker

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2005

Contacts:
Connie Dickard, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 601/941-6395
Suzanne Cousineau,
Entergy Corporation, 504/576-4352
Tim Ahern,
Trust for Public Land, 202/255-0761

 

Tallulah, Louisiana – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Entergy Corporation, The Trust for Public Land (TPL), and Environmental Synergy, Inc. (ESI) announced here today a 2,900-acre addition to the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge. It is the first phase of a $15.7 million carbon sequestration initiative to acquire 11,000 acres and reforest 8,600 acres surrounding the refuge.

The announcement comes less than a month after the first confirmed sighting in more than 60 years of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker north of here on the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Central Arkansas. The last confirmed sighting in the 1940s of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was on the Singer Tract near Tallulah. Part of this tract is included in the 2,900 acres added to Tensas River Refuge.

Entergy Corporation, TPL, and the Service are attempting to combine the science of sequestering (trapping) carbon from the atmosphere with land conservation. Entergy has invested $1.5 million to help acquire, reforest and manage the new 2,900-acre tract. Atlanta-based Environmental Synergy Inc. (ESI) helped to structure the project and provided the planting and carbon monitoring services to Entergy. Entergy will retain the right to report carbon sequestration credits which may result from their reforestation efforts.

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased over the past 60 years, leading scientists and policy experts to find ways to control and stabilize carbon dioxide levels to avoid potential adverse impacts from climate change. Carbon sequestration is one way to control and stabilize carbon dioxide levels. Carbon sequestration is the long-term storage of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere, underground, or the oceans. Scientists have discovered that one acre of reforested bottomland hardwood forest of the lower Mississippi River floodplain can remove up to 400 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over 70 years.

Entergy’s reforestation at Tensas River Refuge is expected to result in 760,000 tons of sequestered carbon dioxide over the next 70 years. This equates to avoiding emissions from 85 million gallons of gasoline.

The Tensas River project is one of several carbon sequestration projects that are ongoing in the Lower Mississippi River Valley over the past six years. Since 1999, Entergy and other utility companies have reforested more than 65,000 acres, and more than 20,000 acres have been added to the National Wildlife Refuge System. More than $500,000 has been donated to the National Wildlife Refuge System to maintain these reforested lands.

Besides Entergy and TPL, funding to acquire the 2,900 acres has been provided through a number of different sources including the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. Project partners will continue to raise funds from federal and private sources to complete the land acquisition goal. U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and U.S. Senator David Vitter and Congressman Rodney Alexander, a member of the House Appropriations Committee support this project as did former U.S. Senator John Breaux.

The Lower Mississippi floodplain forest is one of the country’s most threatened ecosystems. More than 17 million acres of forest have been lost since the early 1900s to timber harvesting and agricultural conversion

Established in 1980, the 70,000-acre Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge is located in Madison, Tensas, and Franklin parishes. The refuge protects one of the largest continuous blocks of bottomland hardwood forest (55,000 acres) left in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. More than 72,000 visitors annually enjoy hiking nature trails, driving the auto tour route, observing or taking pictures of wildlife, hunting, and fishing.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 fish and wildlife management offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production, retail distribution operations, energy marketing and trading, and gas transportation. Entergy owns and operates power plants with about 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.6 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of over $9 billion and approximately 14,000 employees. For more information, visit Entergy’s Web site at www.entergy.com.

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. TPL has protected more than two million acres across the country. With funding from the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund, local open-space funds, and other public and private investments, TPL has helped to protect over 14,400 acres in Louisiana. For more information, visit TPL on the web at http://www.tpl.org.

Environmental Synergy, Inc. (ESI) is a private Atlanta-based company providing reforestation and carbon quantification services to corporate clients as a means to offset carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and promote sustainable forestry. Having implemented the largest carbon-related reforestation effort in the U.S. to date, ESI provides a turnkey program combining state-of-the-art carbon sequestration science and a commitment to restoring biodiversity in ecologically damaged ecosystems. For more information, visit ESI on the web at www.environmental-synergy.com.

NOTE: Page of quotes follows. For photos, please go to http://www.fws.gov/southeast/


Quotes About The Carbon Sequestration Partnership At Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge

"In the history of birding and habitat conservation of North America, the Tensas River ecosystem -- and now the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge -- holds a unique place. It is here where our most prized emblem of the great southern swamp forests last flourished. With the recent rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker just a short distance to the north of this place, the very real possibility exists that one day our descendants will again see this magnificent bird flourishing right here along the banks of the Tensas. Pivotal to such a recovery is long-term restoration of old growth bottomland hardwood forests and in this context I salute the patient and persistent efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Trust for Public Land, and Entergy. Re-growing an old forest will take time, but more than time it requires patience and vision by today's conservation leaders. My thanks to you are but a small token compared to the timeless appreciation you all will receive through the millennia to come, as global citizens begin to see again the great forests that Audubon and Tanner loved here.” ~ John W. Fitzpatrick, director, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.

“Entergy is very proud to partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Trust for Public Land on this very important project. The Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge not only helps Entergy meet our greenhouse gas stabilization commitment, but also helps restore a very important habitat for the threatened Louisiana black bear.” ~ Renae Conley, president of Entergy Louisiana.

“We are fortunate to be able to work in partnership with Entergy to acquire and reforest this tract, which sustains significant populations of forest birds and the Louisiana black bear. Bottomland hardwood forest habitat in the lower Mississippi floodplain is vital to these species, and the recent rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas underscores the importance of this habitat.” ~
Marshall Jones, Deputy Director, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

“As a conservation tool, carbon sequestration gives us the opportunity to address critical issues relating to the atmosphere while at the same time saving and restoring wildlife habitat. Additionally, the public and private partnership accomplishes this at a savings to the American taxpayer. TPL thanks the Louisiana Congressional delegation for their continuing support for this project and Entergy Corporation and the Service for their leadership and vision without which this project would not have been possible.” ~ Don Morrow, Trust for Public Land’s project manager.

“We see this work as a win-win situation for industry, government, the local environment and global climate.” ~ Dr. Joe Wisniewski, CEO, Environmental Synergy, Inc.

"This expansion of the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge is a prime example of the tremendous benefits that come from the public and private sectors working together to protect our vital wildlife habitats. It offers the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service an outstanding opportunity to create additional wildlife habitat and preserve a valuable part of our nation for generations to come." ~ U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.

“The Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge is truly a gem in northeast Louisiana. It’s one of the largest continuous blocks of bottomland hardwoods remaining in the nation and provides Louisiana residents with opportunities to hunt, fish, walk, bike and observe wildlife. I’m proud to have secured federal funding for land acquisition in the past, and
I will continue to work with Congressman Rodney Alexander to get additional funding to enhance the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge.” ~
U.S. Senator David Vitter.

“This project has always meant a lot to me, and it will benefit the 5th Congressional District and the State of Louisiana for years to come,” ~
U.S. Congressman Rodney Alexander.


 Ivory-billed woodpecker from the Singer Tract, 1930s.  Photo courtesy of Dr. James Tanner.
Ivory-billed woodpecker from the Singer Tract, 1930s. Photo courtesy of Dr. James Tanner.
Click on image for 300-dpi downloadable image.

Entrergy Carbon Sequestration Fact Sheet -- (pdf)

Entergy -- Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge -- Bottomland Hardwood Reforestation - Carbon Sequestration Project -- (pdf)

Chicago Mill Acquisition and Carbon Sequestration Project -- (pdf)


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://southeast.fws.gov/ or http://www.fws.gov/.



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