Stories in Louisiana

Impact Report 2023

Dedicated to protecting local resources, ecosystems and habitats based on scientific research, valuable partnerships and passion.

Several people help a flat bottomed boat with a crane through the water.
Oyster Reef Restoration The Nature Conservancy is working to restore oyster reefs along the Louisiana coast. © The Nature Conservancy
A bush with purple flowers serves as a backdrop for a woman in glasses who is smiling.
Karen Gautreaux Karen Gautreaux is The Nature Conservancy's state director in Louisiana. © The Nature Conservancy

From the Director

Five years ago, we planted the seeds of new goals. The seeds of a mission that would amplify our impact in conserving the place we call home and protecting the resources we depend on. Your support and the support of many fellow stakeholders and partners provided our mission with the fertile soil it needed to flourish. Now, we witness the budding growth of our combined efforts.

As our team’s conservation work branches out through our lands, we as people are branching out, making meaningful connections throughout our state and beyond. We are all working toward a common goal: to conserve and protect Louisiana’s unique landscapes.

By connecting resources with passion, we’ve made a rippling impact that echoes from the bayous of the Atchafalaya Basin to future generations of conservation leaders. This progress was made possible because of you. Every acre protected, every milestone reached and every step taken along the way could not have been accomplished without you.

We are all a piece of the puzzle, and this report is the picture we create when we connect—one of thriving ecosystems and resilient communities. But this picture is not a still image. As we look forward, we hope for more pieces to come together, creating a brighter future fueled by the lasting connections we strive to create.


IMPACT IN ACTION

Uncovering Nature-Based Solutions

 

Louisiana Outdoors Forever

Passed during the 2022 legislative session, House Bill 762 created the “Louisiana Outdoors Forever Program.” Introduced by Representative Jerome “Zee” Zeringue, the program funds outdoor conservation projects that protect drinking water supplies, conserve wildlife habitat, provide recreational opportunities in urban and rural areas, sustain working farms and forests and much more.

This program not only helps increase the conservation of the state’s natural resources, but it also bolsters the state’s economy and leverages matching funds. As part of the Louisiana Outdoors Coalition, TNC and many other conservation groups and organizations work to promote the program’s benefits. Together, we are committed to strengthening our investment in protecting water, wildlife and land.

Quote: Representative Jerome Zeringue

Louisiana’s state motto is ‘The Sportsman’s Paradise,’ and we want to ensure that we have the ability to sustain and enhance that moniker. This program is another arrow in the quiver that we use to achieve that.

Louisiana House of Representatives
A man in a hat holds a plant with its roots.
Will deGravelles The Nature Conservancy's Director of Land Protection and Stewardship in Louisiana works at the Cypress Island Preserve. © The Nature Conservancy

Conservation Fellows

Our Conservation Fellows Program partners with participating universities to provide graduate students with on-the-ground experience for solving complex issues. As active participants on TNC’s team, fellows engage in all facets of conservation, receive science communication mentoring from TNC staff, and participate in communications workshops to learn how to share their research with different audiences. Once finished with their projects, fellows’ research results are used to impact conservation in Louisiana and beyond. Trained in the multiple facets of issues and adept at leading effective partnerships, fellows leave the program prepared to solve conservation problems on different scales. We envision the program extending beyond Louisiana and incorporating talents not often associated with conservation, like technology development, policy building and marketing.

  • A smiling woman holds up a crawfish in each hand.

    Lauren Kong: Crawfish Research

    During her time as a fellow, Lauren felt like a valued team member, and her research continues to contribute to our restoration efforts in the Basin.

  • A man in a blue shirt sits at a table outside.

    Justin Kozak: Water Management

    As a fellow, Justin published two scientific papers with his mentor focused on streamlining management decisions in the Atchafalaya and water management.

Quote: Charlie Lamar

I am happy to support the Conservation Fellows program and learn about the vital research being done in the Atchafalaya Basin.

Chairman and CEO of Woodlawn Investments Inc.
A woman in a hat steers a boat while holding a net.
Conservation Fellows The Nature Conservancy's Louisiana Conservation Fellows Program partners with universities to provide graduate students with on-the-ground experience for solving complex issues. © The Nature Conservancy

Forest Program

TNC protects longleaf pine forests through acquisition, restoration and management on its own lands, including Talisheek Pine Wetlands Preserve, Lake Ramsay Preserve and Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve. We also partner with landowners to ensure the long-term viability of the savanna habitat with a project that encompasses over 10,000 acres of private land in the surrounding area. To make an impact over such an enormous range, TNC also fosters meaningful relationships with the U.S. Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Defense. These relationships solidified within a framework known as America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative, which TNC chairs, help drive the protection, restoration and management of these unique and irreplaceable forest ecosystems.

  • 448,000

    Acres of forest that are harvested in Louisiana each year.

  • 308,518

    Total acres protected by The Nature Conservancy in Louisiana.

  • 89

    State-tracked Species of Greatest Conservation Need plant species protected by forests on our nature preserves.

  • 2,280

    Acres that The Nature Conservancy expects to burn in the next year.

Tall tree trunks emerge from plants the spread across the forest floor.
Louisiana Forest Longleaf pines spread out across part of The Nature Conservancy's Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve in Louisiana. © The Nature Conservancy

SUCCESS FROM SUPPORT: Oyster Reefs

To improve the health of the Gulf of Mexico, the Louisiana coast and its coastal habitats, TNC has constructed 7.5 miles of oyster reefs along shorelines in Vermillion Bay, Grand Isle, St. Bernard Parish and Calcasieu Lake. What starts as boxes of rocks evolve into a living reef, giving larvae a home to grow and reproduce. Our oyster reef restoration work aims to protect coastal habitats, fuel the local economy and increase coastal resilience

Quote: Amy Smith Kyle

TNC’s oyster reef restoration and coastal shoreline protection projects are critical because they create and restore natural systems that increase protection for communities from coastal hazards, enhance water quality and improve habitats for numerous fish and wildlife species.

Coastal Projects Manager

Quote: Mary Lavigne

TNC is the conservation organization that I passionately support because of its ‘can do’ approach that is backed by science and collaboration with like-minded stakeholders.

The Nature Conservancy's Louisiana Board of Trustees
A group of people handle heavy equipment on a boat.
Calcasieu Oyster Reef Restoration The Nature Conservancy strives to bring oyster reef restoration to a greater scale across the Gulf Coast. © JCW Creative
A person with a green shirt holds a piece of a tree trunk.
Tree Cookie A member of The Nature Conservancy's staff holds a tree cookie in their hands. © The Nature Conservancy

SUCCESS FROM SUPPORT: New Initiative

Treesilience

Resilience starts with restoration. After enduring catastrophic damages caused by hurricanes Ida and Laura, The Nature Conservancy plans to bring Treesilience to Louisiana.

Treesilience is a growing national initiative focusing on removing the barriers to a healthy canopy in community forests which currently includes removal and replacement of dead or dying trees, mature tree maintenance and site preparation to improve planting conditions for new plantings. 

Your Support Matters

Thank you to our supporters. Your generosity and passion drive our ability to stand up for nature..Every acre preserved, every mile restored and every habitat saved begins with you. Protecting Louisiana’s natural resources would not be possible without your donations and dedication.

Today, we are facing the biggest, most complex environmental challenges in our lifetime as the dual crises of rapid climate change and biodiversity loss threaten our planet. Thanks to your support, we are doing our part in Louisiana to preserve biodiversity and fortify resilient landscapes that can safeguard the people and places most vulnerable to these issues we all face.

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2023 Louisiana Impact Report

Download the full report to see conservation successes from the past year.

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