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      RS 56:798     

  

§798.  Russell Sage or Marsh Island Refuge

A.(1)  The State Mineral and Energy Board is hereby authorized to lease for exploration, development or production of oil, gas, or other minerals all or any portion of Marsh Island, donated to the state of Louisiana by the Russell Sage Foundation and accepted by the state of Louisiana, under the terms and provision of Act No. 70 of the 1920 Regular Session of the Legislature, as supplemented by Act 136 of the 1958 Regular Session of the Legislature, and of the contract between the state of Louisiana and the Russell Sage Foundation entered into pursuant to said Act, now on file and of record in the office of the secretary of state; such lease or leases to be for such time or times as may be mutually agreed upon between the Russell Sage Foundation and the State Mineral and Energy Board, and under such conditions, rules, and regulations as will, to the satisfaction of the Russell Sage Foundation, afford adequate present and future protection of Marsh Island for the purposes for which it was donated by the Russell Sage Foundation to the state and as will insure a minimum disturbance of wildlife on the island, and upon condition that the state of Louisiana shall pay or cause to be paid to the Russell Sage Foundation in the usual manner one-half of any and all revenues due to the state as royalty, rentals, or otherwise from such use, exploration, and development of such leased lands, except tax revenues, and that the state of Louisiana shall devote the other half of the such revenues so derived, first to maintaining, policing, and improving Marsh Island as a wildlife refuge or reserve, which funds shall be credited to, and form part of the Marsh Island Operating Fund, and any excess thereafter remaining of the state's one-half share of such revenues in the Marsh Island Operating Fund at the conclusion of the fiscal year shall be divided into two equal parts, one of which shall be dedicated, set aside, and placed with the state treasurer in a special fund to be known as the "Russell Sage or Marsh Island Refuge Fund", in order to insure through investment or its principal income, for the future maintenance, policing, and improving of Marsh Island as a wildlife refuge, and the other such part shall be available to be expended by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries or its successors for statewide projects for the propagation and protection of wildlife in the state of Louisiana.

(2)(a)  In the event that ten million dollars have accumulated and remain in the Russell Sage or Marsh Island Refuge Fund, all interest and income from investments generated by the Russell Sage or Marsh Island Refuge Fund shall be transferred annually to the Marsh Island Operating Fund for the protection of Marsh Island and any excess of such interest and income from investments which remain in the Marsh Island Operating Fund at the end of each fiscal year shall be apportioned as follows: first to provide for an annual adjustment in the limit on accumulated funds in the Russell Sage or Marsh Island Refuge Fund which adjustment shall be an amount equal to the annual percentage change in the United States consumer price index for all urban consumers, as published by the United States Department of Labor, for the preceding calendar year multiplied by the preceding year's limit, and, thereafter the remainder shall also be available to be expended by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries or its successors for statewide projects for the propagation and protection of wildlife in this state.

(b)  The secretary of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries shall file with the State Mineral and Energy Board annually, on or before July thirtieth of each year, an accurate and detailed written report, in duplicate, of the expenditures made from the state's one-half share of such revenues.  One of the copies of such report shall be delivered by the State Mineral and Energy Board to the Russell Sage Foundation, and the other shall remain on file with the State Mineral and Energy Board, provided that the Russell Sage Foundation shall have the right if it so desires to verify any such report by audit.

(c)  Upon the same terms and conditions and subject to the same division and disposition of revenues therefrom the State Mineral and Energy Board is authorized to grant permits to conduct geophysical surveys of all or any portion of Marsh Island.

B.(1)  The state treasurer shall invest the principal and  the undistributed return on the principal deposited in said Russell Sage or Marsh Island Refuge Fund for the purpose of achieving perpetual financing of said trust fund for the purposes for which said trust fund was created, the income from investments to be added to said trust fund and to become a part thereof for all purposes, except as provided in Paragraph A(2).  Such investments may include, among others authorized by law, the following:

(a)  Equity investments in stocks, common and preferred, of corporations listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, or quoted on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations System, provided that the total investment in such securities at any one time shall not exceed thirty-five percent of the market value of all funds held by the fund.  The treasurer may hire, on a contract basis, investment managers or consultants as deemed appropriate to provide for the equity investments of the fund.  Such contracts shall be on a fee, together with minimum exchange fee, basis or on a commission basis only, with payment for such fees being appropriated from the fund.

(b)  Direct general obligations of or obligations on which the timely payment of the principal and interest is unconditionally guaranteed by the United States of America.

(c)  Bonds, debentures, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness issued by any of the following agencies of the United States government: Government National Mortgage Association; Rural Development Administration; Export-Import Bank of the United States; Federal National Mortgage Association; Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation; Federal Home Loan Bank; and Student Loan Marketing Association.

(d)  Bonds, debentures, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness issued by any of the following agencies of the United States government, or any other like governmental or government-sponsored agencies which are hereafter created, including the Bank of Cooperatives, Federal Financing Bank, Small Business Administration, and Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

(2)  The state treasurer shall also invest the funds for maintaining, policing, and improving Marsh Island as a wildlife refuge or reserve in the Marsh Island Operating Fund for the purpose of earning interest on the Marsh Island Operating Fund, the income from investment to be added to said fund and to become a part thereof for all purposes.

C.  The term "statewide projects for the propagation and protection of wildlife" is herein defined as:

(1) Acquisition of wildlife habitat at a price which is equal to or less than the appraised market value, including the purchase of holdings on existing wildlife management areas, as well as adjoining or adjacent lands, or other tracts of such size and location as shall be appropriate for wildlife management;

(2)  Habitat management of existing and future wildlife management areas; and

(3)  Construction, maintenance, and operation of roads, waterways, buildings and other structures, facilities, and improvements upon existing and future wildlife management areas for the purposes for which they were acquired.

D.  The term "wildlife management area" as used herein shall include Marsh Island.

E.  Operations necessary for the management, maintenance, and development of conditions suitable for improving Marsh Island as a wildlife refuge and preserve which are potentially revenue producing shall be conducted only in accordance with the Deed of Donation from the Russell Sage Foundation to the state of Louisiana and under such provisions and conditions as will afford adequate present and future protection of Marsh Island for the purposes for which it was donated and as will insure a minimum disturbance of wildlife on the island, and upon conditions that any revenues derived from such operations shall be dedicated, set aside, and placed with the state treasurer in a special fund which is hereby created in the state treasury to be known as the "Russell Sage or Marsh Island Refuge Capital Improvement Fund" which shall be devoted solely to capital improvements to Marsh Island, with a portion of the funds accruing to be held in reserve for unusual nonrecurring events caused by forces of nature or other unusual events.  The state treasurer shall invest the principal and interest deposited in said Russell Sage or Marsh Island Capital Improvement Fund for the purpose of achieving perpetual financing of said trust fund for the purposes for which said trust fund was created, the income from investments to be added to said trust fund and become a part thereof for all purposes.  The secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries shall deliver to the Russell Sage Foundation annually, on or before July thirtieth of each year, an accurate and detailed written report of the expenditures made from said trust fund.  The Russell Sage Foundation shall have the right if it so desires to verify any such report by audit.

F.  The secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is hereby authorized to employ a qualified accountant for the purposes of compiling the reports reflecting the status of the Marsh Island Operating Fund and special trust funds provided for by this Section, calculating the change in the Russell Sage or Marsh Island Refuge Fund limit, and for such other reporting purposes as may be agreed by the Russell Sage Foundation and the secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Added by Acts 1971, No. 62, §2; Amended by Acts 1973, No. 154, §1; Acts 1987, No. 849, §1, eff. July 20, 1987; Acts 1992, No. 885, §1, eff. July 8, 1992; Acts 1999, No. 1041, §1; Acts 2009, No. 196, §9, eff. July 1, 2009.



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