700 acres of Maurepas wetlands now protected by Southeast Louisiana Land Trust

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 10:54pm

It's an iconic scene when you think of south Louisiana. Cypress trees in the swamp, and moss-covered branches. Now almost 700-acres near Maurepas are guaranteed to stay that way, forever.

"It's a blend of Tupelo, cypress, timber, swamp, and highlands," said Michael Sharp, a board member with the Southeast Louisiana Land Trust. "Very important from a wildlife viewpoint."

With a million-dollar federal grant, the Southeast Louisiana Land Trust bought the huge swath of land in Livingston Parish, and will prohibit any development. The group says they've identified over 200 species of birds that nest in the area.

"It's important to the land trust because its mission in critical in terms of being an important bird sanctuary," Sharp said.

Wetland loss on the coast means the Maurepas land is even more crucial to those birds as they look for new lands for nesting.

"This is seen as an important part of the future of protecting the species," said Bonnie Lewis, a professor at Southeastern Louisiana University.

In the past, land trust protected areas through conservation easements with property owners. This time, they are the property owners, and are excited about their natural gem, that's mostly hidden from the public.

It may at some point be open to the public," said Sara McDonald with the Land Trust. "And it's accessible mostly by boat."

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