Download Printer-friendly PDF
Title: State Coastal Land Trust
Resolution #: 11C, 2007
Date Proposed: 3/4/2007
WHEREAS, Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, barrier beachfronts and chenier ridges are extraordinarily productive fish and wildlife habitats that provide essential habitat for many species and support abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation like hunting, fishing, birding and boating that support industries vital to the economies of coastal communities as well as the state, and

WHEREAS, much of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands are considered "tidelands" and have traditionally been available for fishing and other waterborne forms of recreation and commerce, and

WHEREAS, due to the dynamic and ever-changing environment of coastlands, their value for subsurface mineral development, the liability associated with their ownership, their rapid erosion rate, their vulnerability to storms, the compelling need to arrest coastal land loss and restore some of what has already been lost, and the great expense of sustaining and reclaiming coastlands that exceeds the financial capacity of private owners, it can be advantageous for coastal landowners to sell or donate the surface rights of land to the state or other qualified entity for tax and other benefits, such as fixed mineral boundaries and conservation tax credit, while maintaining subsurface ownership of minerals and the capability to continue producing those minerals, and it can be advantageous to the state to accept such donations to reduce the complexity of negotiating for and rights necessary to implement coastal restoration projects, and

WHEREAS, as coastal restoration efforts accelerate and land is created anew through sediment diversions and other land-building projects, the state will be negotiating with the private claimants of the subsurface to allow restoration projects to proceed in exchange for agreement to cede ownership of the reclaimed surface to the state in exchange for private ownership of the subsurface minerals beneath the reclaimed land, and

WHEREAS, through both of these processes, i.e., coastal landowners donating surface rights and the state receiving surface rights to land reclaimed through coastal restoration projects, there is a potential for tens of thousands of acres of productive fish and wildlife habitat to change hands, and

WHEREAS, as the steward of the public trust, it is appropriate for the state to establish an administrative structure within state government to accept and manage such coastal lands for the benefit of the people of the state and the natural resources dependent thereon, and to secure the longterm benefits of coastal restoration and consistency with the need for coastal protection and restoration, and

WHEREAS, because of the public resources and interest involved with managing coastal lands and the fact that a preponderance of such lands are tidelands and subject to certain public uses not always honored by private owners, the state rather than a private entity is the appropriate steward, manager and owner of such properties conveyed for coastal restoration projects and/or for consideration of fixing mineral boundaries, and

WHEREAS, an additional benefit to the public in establishing an administrative structure within state government to accept and manage coastlands is the opportunity for public participation and legislative oversight in determining management objectives and rules for such property, and

WHEREAS, the state currently does not have an administrative structure for accepting and managing large acreages of coastlands and neither are its existing land management agencies adequately staffed and financed to take on the challenge of managing additional coastal lands.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Louisiana Wildlife Federation urges the Governor of Louisiana and the Louisiana Legislature to establish a State Coastal Land Trust, incorporating the collaboration of existing state land management agencies, to acquire, accept and manage coastal lands obtained through purchase, donation, exchange or expropriation, for the purposes of conservation, restoration or protection of coastal lands and waters to be funded with OCS mineral revenue dedicated to coastal protection and restoration, private donations and other sources of funds that may be available from time to time.

Adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation in convention assembled, 4 March 2007, in Gonzales, Louisiana.

Submitted By: LWF Executive Committee
LWF Committee: Habitat Conservation and Management

Member Password