The Outdoor Conservation Study Group held its first meeting to begin looking for unique opportunities to strengthen Louisiana’s investment in conservation.
LWF Executive Director, Rebecca Triche, presented to the group along with Ed Penny, Public Policy Director for DU Southern Region. Their discussions detailed successful Louisiana conservation projects with valuable public benefits, the overwhelming support throughout the state for increasing efforts to protect our land, water and wildlife habitat and the importance of collaboration.
The 16 member group is eager to begin assessing how Louisiana can better leverage available funding from private, state and federal funds to provide significant dollars for conservation in the state.
In 2018, a statewide poll by Public Opinion Strategies, Louisiana Voters’ Views on Conservation Funding, found that over 75% of voters in Louisiana believe that more needs to be done to protect the state’s land, water, and wildlife habitat – including overwhelming bipartisan support for the Louisiana Legislature to create dedicated conservation funding.
Louisiana is missing opportunities for matching funds available through public and private sources that could be used to conserve lands and watersthroughout our state. Meanwhile, other states in the Southeast region have determined that establishing a dedicated source of conservation funding has allowed them to greatly leverage their investment in conserving important habitats and thirty-eight states have similarly dedicated funding. The Outdoor Conservation Study Group is charged with addressing this disparity.
The group will answer the following questions:
- What are the potential mechanisms to increase conservation funding for the state of Louisiana?
- What are the potential programs for which such funds could serve as a match?
- What is the purpose for which the conservation funds may be used?
- What is the administrative structure for the funds, including criteria for project selection and method of disbursement?
The Outdoor Conservation Study group was created with the passage of HCR 55 by the Louisiana Legislature during the 2021 regular session. Rep. Zeringue, who sponsored the bill, was appointed chair of the group during the introductory meeting. The group will submit a report with its recommendations to the House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment and the Senate Committee on Natural Resources by February 1, 2022.
You can watch the recording of the meeting here. The next meeting will be Wednesday, November 3, at 10 a.m.
LOUISIANA FOREVER is a coalition of conservation groups and natural resource agencies committed to strengthening our investment in water, wildlife, and land.
Louisiana Wildlife Federation is a proud partner of Louisiana Forever. For many years, LWF has supported a trust fund to acquire and preserve important unprotected habitats and greenspace (see LWF’s resolution from 2007 on this subject).
The coalition of Louisiana Forever partners continues to grow as this effort is relevant to many people and programs across our state. If you would like to learn more or be involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org.