Baton Rouge, La. - This morning, in the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission’s meeting, recently announced plans to build an airport adjacent to Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge were discussed and a public comment period was opened. Although commissioners were not directly involved in the decision-making, we commend them for bringing this important item into the public arena for consideration.
Audubon Louisiana is pleased with the outcome of today’s meeting— specifically the state’s decision to rescind the agreement to lease the former airstrip property to the Grand Isle Levee District for the development of an airport at Elmer’s Island as presented by Secretary Montoucet of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).
Elmer’s Island is a critically important bird habitat and key stopover for millions of migratory birds that cross the Gulf of Mexico each year. An airport and air traffic in close proximity to the nearly 200 bird species that use Elmer’s Island, including the threatened Piping Plover and Red Knot listed on the Endangered Species Act, present many harmful and unsafe scenarios for both wildlife and people.
In addition to Elmer’s Island serving as a critical habitat for millions of birds and a recreational, fishing and bird watching stronghold for south Louisiana, it is also home to the Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority’s most expensive ecosystem restoration effort to date – the $216 million Caminada Headland restoration project.
We look forward to working with LDWF on the implementation of the management plan for Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge and continuing to protect the needs of wildlife, including birds, that depend on Louisiana’s ecosystems.
Audubon's mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. Audubon Louisiana works daily to engage, conserve, restore and protect important areas shared by birds and people. See more at LA.Audubon.org.