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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded a $692,634 grant to the St. Tammany Parish government to acquire a 106-acre parcel of land. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The grant will allow St. Tammany Parish to acquire the land on Bayou Liberty near Slidell, La. The site, known as "Camp Salmen," is a former Boy Scout camp and is primarily wooded land with some open space. The property provides one of the most diverse environments within St. Tammany Parish’s established coastal zone. It contains almost one mile of bayou frontage, a live oak grove that features some of the oldest specimens in the area, and a stand of old growth pine timber. In addition, it has the status of being one of the oldest settled areas within the region. The property served as one of the primary camp facilities for the Boy Scouts of America for several decades providing experiences and memories for generations of Scouts. Once acquired, the site will be converted to a public park with walking and biking trails, and connections to a greenway being assembled in that area known as the Tammany Trace.
“These funds will help St. Tammany preserve one of the most pristine wetlands areas in the state. Camp Salmen's undeveloped lands provide natural flood-control and pollution mitigation benefits, and once this land is acquired, Slidell and the surrounding area will be able to realize the full recreational and ecological benefits of this estuary," said U.S. Rep. David Vitter.
Through his position as vice-chair of the CJSJ House Appropriations Committee, which oversees funding for Department of Commerce programs, Vitter has previously appropriated $1.5 million for the preservation of Camp Salmen.
“Funding from this grant will preserve the character of the Bayou shore as well as provide the people of St. Tammany Parish with a public park,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA and the Bush Administration are dedicated to preserving the environment and protecting wetlands like those in St. Tammany Parish.”
Each year, NOAA awards approximately $900 million in grants to members of the academic, scientific and business communities to assist the agency in fulfilling its mission to study the Earth’s natural systems in order to predict environmental change, manage ocean resources, protect life and property, and provide decision makers with reliable scientific information. NOAA’s goals and programs reflect a commitment to these basic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for the past 34 years.
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