Land Trust for Louisiana has received a grant through the newly minted Louisiana Outdoors Forever program within the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. This will allow us to finally close out the purchase of an easement on Live Oak Farm in southwest Louisiana, an 8-year-old project we now aim to complete in early 2024.
Through this program – conceived by a coalition of non-profit conservation organizations (including the Land Trust) 9 years ago – the state of Louisiana has parlayed the $10M dedicated to this program in 2023 to $38M total through the release of matching funds from other programs. This is a HUGE win for conservation, and we need to ensure that it continues. Currently, although the legislation that sets up the program has been passed, there is no identified revenue stream that will fund this program year in and year out (last year’s $10M came from a surplus in the Governor’s budget.) Our group is working toward this goal, but it remains to be seen how this can be accomplished.
Today, however, we are so grateful for all of the partners working with us to conserve this beautiful, important property on our coast — including the EPA, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation, and others. And most importantly we want to thank the Godchaux family for their commitment to preserving this 100 year old rice farm that supports an integrated, symbiotic system with rice production, enhancement of wildlife habitat, and responsible protection of the watershed. It is truly one of Louisiana’s natural treasures!