Date: 9/26/18 12:56 pm From: Johnson, Erik <ejohnson...> Subject: Re: [LABIRD-L] Elmer's Island - airport
Hi Teri, and all LAbirders,
As many of you may know by now, the Times-Picayune released an article today on the Elmer's Island airport. It includes quotes from myself, Phil Stouffer, Peter Yaukey, and Jane Patterson, all LAbirders. I think Tristan Baurick did a great job reaching out to multiple parties to understand the situation.
Clearly, from the article, you can gather that I am of the opinion that an airport on Elmer's Island Wildlife Refuge is boneheaded. The good news is that if this project moves forward, it will face a lot of challenges in overcoming state and federal wetland permit applications, and potentially also FAA regulations. So for now, this travesty is a long way from getting built. What is so troubling at this point is how an agreement between Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Grand Isle Independent Levee District to pursue developing an airport on a public wildlife refuge was so quickly reached without anyone knowing.
What is not included in the article is that I have a lot of great things to say about LDWF and their amazing employees that work on endangered species management and reintroductions, non-game and game management and research, coastal restoration activities, habitat management, wildlife and fisheries enforcement, public education, and so on. Skilled staff every day benefit Louisiana's wildlife, and the communities like ours that enjoy and appreciate Louisiana's natural heritage.
Unfortunately, although the idea of airport development may have not been the Department's brain child, LDWF leadership succumbed to pressure to lease the refuge property to the Grand Isle Independent Levee District, giving them the authority to pursue the development.
At this time, there is nothing stopping anyone from writing to or calling state leaders within LDWF, the administration, or legislators to share their thoughts about the pursuant of developing the airport on Elmer's Island Wildlife Refuge, a treasured sanctuary beloved by birders, fishermen, and of course, wildlife.
The best outcome would be for the agreement between the parties to be rescinded, but if that does not occur Audubon Louisiana will continue to track and engage in this development each step of the way. I am happy to keep the birding community apprised on details and opportunities to engage when necessary.
Shaking my head,
Director of Bird Conservation, Audubon Louisiana
Ejohnson AT Audubon.org
From: Teri Ferguson <terif2009...>
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2018 2:29 PM
To: Johnson, Erik <ejohnson...>
Subject: Re: [LABIRD-L] Elmer's Island - airport
Erik, what are your thoughts if you are comfortable sharing?
> Subject: Re: [LABIRD-L] Elmer's Island - airport
> This has been reported on in the media (at least in the Times-Picayune). They're not talking about a full-scale "airport" with commercial service, but an airstrip with fuel pumps, a hangar, and perhaps a small terminal building. In fact, the airstrip already exists, but has been unused for a few decades and is overgrown. This isn't to endorse the idea (or to criticize it) but to explain what the plans actually entail.