Earlier this year the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, which governs the RESTORE Act trust fund resulting from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, voted to fund a project that will revitalize one of the largest freshwater wetlands in the country – the Maurepas Swamp. The swamp has deteriorated in the last many decades but the new diversion will pump in sediments, nutrients and freshwater that will revitalize upwards of 50,000 acres. The Land Trust for Louisiana has been a vocal proponent of this project and is excited to see funding finally being provided.
In 2011 Land Trust for Louisiana acquired almost 700 acres in the swamp, adding to an already expansive area of protected wetland forest. For generations, south Louisiana has fished and hunted here, but recent years have seen a sharp decline in productivity due to invasives, altered water levels, increased salinity and hypoxic conditions. Many forests have converted to open water or are taken over by species like Chinese tallow. The Land Trust, with the help of partners like Louisiana Audubon and currently the Natural Resources Conservation Service, has been actively fighting tallow for several years, with the goal of restoring the native forest composition.
Our property in the Maurepas Swamp was purchased thanks to partnerships with local government, private industry and the Conservation Fund. The Audubon Society recognizes the Maurepas Preserve as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because of its abundance of many species of native and migratory birds. Audubon has also partnered with Land Trust for Louisiana to plant important tree species that will not only support our bird habitat, but also enhance the habitat for the Louisiana Black Bear.