Louisiana Wetland Action Program
The Louisiana Wetland Action Program (LWAP) engages Louisiana landowners in coastal restoration. Global Green staff members provide wetland owners with detailed information on programs, grants, and other financial incentives to support conservation and connect them to the appropriate program that could ultimately lead to the restoration of their wetlands.
The Louisiana Wetland Action Program aligns with Global Green’s work to help the growth of sustainable, resilient communities with programs and initiatives to fight climate change and guarantee a more sustainable future. Healthy wetlands can sequester 12 times more carbon than an upland forest, offering an incredible opportunity to reduce warming greenhouse gases and save Louisiana’s coast.
"Louisiana's coastal communities are ground zero for climate change impacts," says Beth Galante, Director of New Orleans and Gulf Coast Initiatives. "As someone who is passionate about protecting my coastal home, New Orleans, I know that we must take bold action now to find innovative solutions to restore our wetlands and protect these communities. Our Louisiana Wetlands Action Program is designed to tap the stewardship and on-the-ground expertise of the owners of the vast majority of coastal wetlands, and to help harness the incredible carbon-capturing potential of wetlands. By partnering coastal landowners with emerging carbon offset markets, we can create a win-win for our coast, our communities, and for climate change mitigation."
FOCUS OF OUR WORK
Private property owners possess and control approximately 85 percent of the state’s coastal wetlands, but state and federal coastal conservation and restoration planning and projects rarely engage these landowners. That’s where LWAP comes in -- to engage and empower Louisiana landowners in coastal restoration.
Global Green works closely with entities sponsoring conservation efforts to gather and draft information on opportunities available to help these private property owners preserve and restore coastal habitats. Staff members reach out to landowners in four parishes -- Terrebonne, Lafourche, Plaquemines and St. Bernard -- and provideeasy access to detailed information on programs, grants, and other financial incentives to support conservation to landowners.
Preservation Assistance: Some entities provide free technical assistance to help coastal landowners conserve their property. These federal and state agencies and conservation organizations, including the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Ducks Unlimited, also sponsor programs to provide landowners with financial assistance for preservation and restoration. Each program has unique objectives, eligibility criteria, and land-use restrictions.
Easements: Landowners sometimes grant easements, or a type of servitude that allows another party to access and use their property for a specified purpose, to organizations when participating in certain conservation programs. These easements may be necessary to allow personnel from organizations sponsoring conservation programs to access sites for implementing and monitoring preservation or restoration practices.
Carbon Markets: As California’s carbon market comes online in 2013, there is potential for landowners to be compensated through carbon offsets. For example, a company in California can invest in a landowner’s restored wetland property, which is removing carbon from the atmosphere and adding it into the soil and biomass, to offset the amount of carbon dioxide the company is producing. Global Green is working to educate and connect wetland owners to the carbon market.
The LWAP is funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Disaster Recovery Unit within the State of Louisiana’s Division of Administration’s Office of Community Development.
• Initial outreach to landowners on 60,000 acres is just the beginning; the goal is to reach and assist homeowners on 200,000 acres or more.
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