Ecosystem Investment Partners (EIP) is pleased to announce the completion of the first acquisition phase of 3,860 acres of mixed pine and hardwood timberland in Allen and Jefferson Davis Parishes, Louisiana. EIP II acquired 2,645 acres of the property on March 29, 2011 from Crown Pine Realty 4, Inc. (an entity managed by the Campbell Group), and will acquire the remaining 1,215 acres in June, 2011.
Historically dominated by the longleaf pine savanna wetland ecosystem native to much of the Gulf Coastal Plain, the property is one of the largest remaining unprotected and restorable wet pine savanna tracts in southwest Louisiana, making it an ideal wetland mitigation banking site. EIP will entitle the Calcasieu Mitigation Bank on approximately 1,100 acres of the site over the next eighteen months, working in collaboration with The Nature Conservacy and a local mitigation banking expert. As the first investment in EIP’s second pool of investment capital (EIP II), acquisition of this property will enable EIP’s investors to capitalize on the robust demand for wetland mitigation credits from development in the expanding Lake Charles metro region, projected to be the fastest-growing region in Louisiana over the next two years.
To develop the Calcasieu Mitigation Bank, EIP will restore property from its current condition as an industrial loblolly pine plantation into its original longleaf pine savanna habitat; permanently protect the property with a conservation easement; and sell the resulting mitigation credits to those in need of offsets as required under the federal Clean Water Act for unavoidable wetland impacts.
The property is significant for its conservation and restoration value not only locally, but also regionally. The wet longleaf pine savannah ecosystem once dominated the Gulf Coastal Plain and is now one of the country’s rarest and most threatened ecosystems. Less than 5% of the original savanna habitat remains in Louisiana today, having once covered more than 2 million acres in Louisiana alone.