Our Commitment to the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
The Orleans Audubon Society has had a long-term interest in the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve and its unique wetlands. Orleans Audubon Society member, Frank Ehret, Jr., is known as the “Father of the Park” for his tireless and relentless efforts to make the park a reality. The Orleans Audubon Society testified before Congress urging the creation of the park. We also successfully sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and developers for violations of the Clean Water Act which occurred within the authorized boundary. Most recently, we lobbied Congress to expand the boundary of the park and enlisted the help of National Audubon Society’s Public Policy Office. The boundary was expanded with the passage of the 2009 Omnibus Public Lands Act. This legislation allowed the park to immediately acquire 3,000 acres of federally-owned wetlands adjacent to the existing park. This acquisition included the Bayou aux Carpes swamp. It also allows the park to negotiate with those private landowners who are willing sellers to purchase another 5,857 acres of surrounding wetlands, provided Congress allocates the funds.
There could be another addition to the park soon if Congress allocates the funds. The park is interested in acquiring 4,000 acres of wetlands southeast of the town of Jean Lafitte and south of Crown Point, known as the Fleming Plantation property. The property includes live oaks at the highest elevation and baldcypress and water tupelo swamp. The lower elevations has a variety of marsh, including the rare and unique habitat which the park is famous for, the floating estuarine marsh known locally as flotant. The private landowners are willing to sell these wetlands to the park and the Trust for Public Land has the property under a purchase option. All the National Park Service needs is a Congressional appropriation of $2 million to acquire and protect the Fleming Plantation property.