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The Trust for Public Land Adds Reforested Land to Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge
Carbon Sequestration Program Reduces Effects of Global Warming

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August
30, 2007


Contacts:

Don Morrow, TPL Director of Projects: (850) 591-7645
Kelly Purkey, NWR Manager: (318) 574-2664
Jeff Fleming, FWS Carbon Program, (404) 679-7287


Tallulah, LA - The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national non-profit land conservation organization with conservation initiatives throughout Louisiana and the Gulf Coast announces its conveyance of 1,974 acres in northeastern Louisiana to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). The land will be added to the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, located seven miles west of Tallulah, Louisiana.

More than 1,420 acres were reforested with 433,000 native trees as part of The Trust for Public Land’s on-going carbon sequestration program and partnership with the Service.

Carbon sequestration is a process that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — naturally capturing and storing carbon (while releasing oxygen). It is one of the most promising ways for reducing the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; and in this case, it is done by planting trees in previously deforested areas within the refuge boundaries.

“One of the goals of the program,” explains Don Morrow, Director of Projects for TPL, “is to restore bottomland hardwoods. The other obviously is to help mitigate the effects of global warming. When fully-grown, the newly planted trees will sequester 639,000 tons of carbon dioxide. That’s the equivalent of the carbon footprint of 75,000 homes for one year or of taking 125,000 cars off the road.”

Funding to acquire the land came from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), secured by U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter and U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, supplemented by $1,362,000 in carbon funding from Detroit Edison, Conoco-Phillips and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The carbon funding helped to cover land acquisition costs, paid for tree planting, and established a $71,000 management endowment.

“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," says U. S. Sen. Landrieu. "I applaud all of the partners that have come together to plant critical trees, create additional wildlife habitat and preserve a valuable part of our nation."

U. S. Sen. Vitter agrees. “The Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge is a treasure in northeast Louisiana. As one of the largest continuous blocks of bottomland hardwoods in the nation, it provides Louisianans a place for recreational activities like fishing, hiking and hunting. The efforts to conserve and preserve this land help ensure the refuge is around for decades to come.”

“This project will advance the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuges efforts to maintain the natural state of the land in this area, which not only preserves the beauty and history of the region but also benefits the environment,” adds U.S. Rep. Alexander.

TPL purchased 11,000 acres from Chicago Mill and Lumber Company over a three year period from 2004 to 2006 and has transferred portions of the land to USFWS in phases as funding became available.

“The Trust for Public Land, Detroit Edison, Conoco-Phillips, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and our other carbon partners are playing a key role in our collective effort to restore native wildlife habitats, boost wildlife populations, and provide a small piece of the remedy to climate change and its impacts,” said Sam Hamilton, the Service’s regional director for the Southeast Region. “We get valuable lands conserved and native habitats restored. Our partners get credit for the carbon sequestered through this work. It’s a win-win for wildlife, our partners, and the climate.”

“It would be hard to exaggerate the innovation and creative thinking of our employees when it comes to this program and its evolution in the late 1990s. Over the past eight years, our innovative carbon program and its partners have helped to add 40,000 acres of land to our national wildlife refuges, restore a total of 80,000 acres to native habitat, and plant more than 22 million trees sequestering more than 33 million tons of carbon over the next 99 years,” Hamilton added.

“The Refuge currently exists as two separate refuge units and TPL has stepped in to help the Service protect the area between these two units,” said Kelly Purkey, the Service’s manager at Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge. “It takes the help of like-minded partners like TPL and our other ‘carbon partners’ to make the kind of progress we are making in the Lower Mississippi Valley with solution-oriented conservation

To date, TPL has conveyed more than 6,770 acres to the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge; reforested 4,830 acres with 1,444,600 trees; donated more than $1,106,000 in planting costs, and $240,500 in management endowments. TPL has also provided $2,080,000 in land acquisition support and 2,173,500 tons of CO2 have been sequestered.

The 70,000-acre Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge is one part of a network of 548 refuges across the country devoted to preserving and restoring increasingly scarce habitat for native wildlife and migratory birds. Established in 1980, the refuge provides food and shelter for more than 400 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish including bobcat, wild turkey and the remnant population of the Louisiana black bear.

The Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge is one the largest publicly owned tracts of bottomland hardwoods remaining in the Mississippi delta. Prior to a sighting in Arkansas’ Cache River basin in 2004, the last sighting of the ivory-billed woodpecker occurred in the 1940's on land adjacent to Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge.

About The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, see http://www.fws.gov.

About TPL: 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 over 2 million acres of land with a fair market value of more than $4 billion. For more information, see www.tpl.org.

 


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



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