(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter announced that the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill, which passed out of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee this week, includes $1.75 million for Louisiana to acquire the 1,700-acre Elmer’s Island and convert it for public use.
“Elmer’s Island boasts low dunes, mud and sand flats, marsh, lagoon and a tidal channel that provide prime habitat for many species of fish and birds that should be preserved,” said Vitter. “This federal funding will help ensure that the island is conserved and that it will be open to the public while also making sure it is consistent with our coastal restoration efforts.”
The $1.75 million in federal funds will allow the state of Louisiana to purchase the privately-owned, 1,700-acre island to conserve the area and reopen it for public use. The island has historically been available for public camping, bird watching, beachcombing and fishing. Reopening it for public use would preclude any development incompatible with Louisiana’s coastal restoration efforts.
“The Trust for Public Land applauds Senator Vitter for helping to secure federal funds to help the state purchase and conserve Elmer’s Island, one of only three beachfronts in the entire state accessible by car,” said Larry Schmidt, director of the New Orleans Office of the Trust for Public Land. “This is a critical step to the completion of the protection of the 1,700 acres for continued public use.”
“While committee passage is only the first step in the legislative process, it is an important one for securing funding for this project,” Vitter said. “I will continue to work with my colleagues to help keep this federal funding in the final bill.”
The Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill is expected to move to the U.S. Senate floor for a vote later this year.