FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 26, 2002
The rerfuge is the product of a carbon sequestration project that will offset the environmental impacts of fossil fuel emissions, provide new fish and wildlife habitat, and bring recreation-driven economic benefits to northwest Louisiana along the Red River Valley in Natchitoches Parish near Shreveport.
Interior Secretary Gale Norton, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and U.S. Representative Jim McCrery, whose district includes the refuge, addressed the success of this public-private partnership at the dedication ceremony attended by representatives of Entergy, The Conservation Fund, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"The dedication of Red River National Wildlife Refuge represents a triumph of cooperation and partnership in the service of conservation," said Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton. "Thanks to the contributions of Entergy and The Conservation Fund, the new refuge will provide habitat for fish and wildlife while offering the citizens of Louisiana recreational opportunities. At the same time, the restoration of the bottomland hardwood forest will remove 240 tons of carbon from the atmosphere each year, providing cleaner air"
"Together we are restoring the rich biological diversity of the
floodplain forest that once characterized the Red River Valley as a
legacy for future generations of Americans to enjoy," she said.
Entergy, in partnership with Environmental Synergy, Inc., has already planted more than 180,000 native trees on the property. Over the next 70 years, the trees will sequester (trap) 275,000 tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide, as well as provide important bottomland hardwood habitat benefiting migratory birds, turkey, white-tailed deer and other wildlife.
"This powerful public-private partnership represents a breakthrough in using voluntary and market-driven approaches to address two of the nation's top environmental concerns -- climate change and habitat protection," said Lawrence A. Selzer, president of The Conservation Fund. "We applaud the leadership of Senator Landrieu and Congressman McCrery and the commitment of Entergy in balancing economic goals with environmental principles."
"Entergy is working toward sustainable development that creates value and provides safe, reliable, affordable, clean energy with a constantly shrinking environmental impact," noted Curt Hebert, Entergy's executive vice president of external affairs. Hebert added that Entergy's management is acutely aware that societal and environmental issues will become more important globally, nationally and especially within the regions here in the U.S. where the company operates.
Carbon sequestration takes advantage of the fact that as plants grow, they incorporate carbon from the atmosphere into their structure through the process of photosynthesis. Sequestration programs encourage corporations and governments to plant trees to offset the impact of carbon emissions. As the trees reach maturity, and their growth slows, they also need and "trap" less carbon.
The Red River Valley represents a historic corridor for migratory birds funneling out of North America to the Gulf Coast. An important tributary of the Mississippi River, the Red River is one of the most degraded watersheds in Louisiana. Eventually, the refuge will encompass 50,000 acres and in addition to protecting wildlife habitat and enhancing air quality, will offer public recreation opportunities such as hunting, fishing, hiking and educational outreach programs.
"The Red River National Wildlife Refuge restores to the citizens of our region a face of the Red River that was hidden long ago," said Paul Dickson, chairman of the Friends of the Red River Refuges. "Thanks to this remarkable partnership, the future of the Red River, its people, and its wildlife is brighter than ever."
Entergy is a major global energy company with power production, distribution operations and related diversified services. Entergy owns, manages, or invests in power plants generating more than 30,000 megawatts of electricity domestically and internationally, and delivers electricity to about 2.6 million customers in portions of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Through Entergy-Koch, L.P., it is also a leading provider of wholesale energy marketing and trading services. Entergy's online address is www.entergy.com.
The Conservation Fund, the only national environmental organization to receive the top ratings from both the American Institute of Philanthropy and Charity Navigator, acts to protect the nation's legacy of land and water resources in partnership with other organizations, public agencies, foundations, corporations and individuals. Seeking innovative conservation solutions for the 21st century, the Fund works to integrate economic and environmental goals. Since its founding in 1985, the Fund has helped its partners safeguard wildlife habitat, community "greenspace" and historic sites totaling more than 3 million acres throughout the U.S. Headquarters are in Arlington, Virginia.
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 more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 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 Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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