Ecosystem Investment Partners (EIP) is pleased to announce its acquisition of 16,472 acres of coastal marsh on the East Orleans Land Bridge in Orleans Parish, Louisiana. Located less than 20 miles east of New Orleans, the Chef Menteur Pass property comprises 63% of the East Orleans Land Bridge, the landmass that separates Lake Pontchartrain from Lake Borgne and the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Over the last 22 years, multiple federal, state, and regional planning studies and programs, including Louisiana’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan, have acknowledged and documented the critical ecological importance and risk reduction function of the East Orleans Land Bridge. EIP’s goal for the property is to restore and protect these ecological and risk reduction functions to the maximum extent possible. EIP will accomplish this goal through the investment of its own capital, and the subsequent sale of wetland mitigation credits to third parties seeking compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and other applicable environmental laws.
EIP’s purchase of the Chef Menteur Pass property includes an already entitled wetland mitigation bank named the Chef Menteur Pass Wetland Mitigation Bank, which is compliant with US Army Corps mitigation banking regulations and is in good standing with the New Orleans District of the Corps. Entitled in 2008, the Chef Menteur Pass Wetland Mitigation Bank has over 100 acres worth of brackish marsh mitigation credits released and currently available for sale to offset marsh impacts in its service area. The Bank’s service area consists of over 10,000 square miles of coastal Louisiana surrounding New Orleans on both sides of the Mississippi River as shown on the map below. EIP is in process of modifying the current mitigation banking instrument to significantly expand the size of the Bank, in order to provide a large supply of high quality offsets for unavoidable wetland impacts permitted under Section 404.
Over the past 50 years, shoreline erosion and wetland loss on the East Orleans Land Bridge (and on the Chef Menteur pass property in particular) has been significant and is accelerating. Since 1932, approximately 24 percent of the land bridge has been lost to estuarine processes such as severe shoreline retreat and rapid tidal fluctuations, and the loss rate is increasing. These losses were exacerbated by the landfall of hurricane Katrina, which created breaches between Lake Borgne and interior marshes, and, in some cases, caused large expanses of wetlands to revert to open water. Through extensive GIS and remote sensing analysis, EIP has determined which areas on the Chef Menteur Pass property are experiencing the greatest decline and degradation. This information is being used to guide the specific restoration plans on the property. The restoration techniques EIP will employ have already been successfully used for the existing wetland mitigation bank, providing valuable experience and knowledge to guide EIP’s future restoration work.
To inquire about purchasing credits, please contact Katherine Birnie, Director of Markets, at (443) 921-9441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.