Private Equity Fund Launches Louisiana Wetlands Restoration—For Profit: The Minute

Private Equity Fund Launches Louisiana Wetlands Restoration—For Profit: The Minute

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Monday, July 14, 2014 - 4:00pm


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Restoring Lousiana’s badly eroded wetlands is key to protecting that state against further devastation from hurricanes like Katrina. The state has developed a master plan, the federal government has promised funding, and BP continues to pay out reparations to repair coastline damage from its 2010 oil spill. Now, Ecosystem Investment Partners, a private equity firm, has launched a major wetlands restoration effort as a profit enterprise.

According to the New York Times, the company intends to profit from its good works by selling its restoration credits to private developers and government agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers. The private equity project is notable for its size: the company has raised $181 million dollars from investors for this and other wetland restoration projects. Work is underway in a critical land bridge area that separates Lake Pontchartrain, which borders New Orleans on the north, from Lake Borgne in the east, and beyond, from the salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This fragile isthmus has lost a 25 percent of its wetlands since 1932.

The profit strategy for this work is based on a policy developed under President George H. W. Bush, It requires developers and government agencies that drain or fill wetlands to offset the loss either by restoring an equivalent amount of wetlands or by buying the credits from restoration work done by others. Ecosystem Investment Partners is betting that the market for good works pays equally good dividends.

I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

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