Louisiana must be saved

Louisiana’s Land Loss

In recent years, dire predictions of catastrophic consequences have fueled Louisiana’s efforts to restore our failing coast. Comprising nearly one-third of our state’s land area and home to two-thirds of Louisiana’s residents, Louisiana’s coastal zone has been battered by hurricanes and shaped to meet the demands of modern development.

Since 1900, Louisiana has lost more than 1 million acres of wetlands and barrier shoreline as a result of natural processes and human activity. Louisiana’s coastal wetlands stand on the verge of collapse. In the past 50 years, more than 1,500 square miles of coastal Louisiana have vanished. Without immediate and decisive action, Louisiana stands to lose an additional 1,000 square miles of land, an area the size of Rhode Island, by the year 2050. This land is not only an important habitat for fish and wildlife. It also provides and indispensable storm buffer for communities, transportation routes and energy infrastructure.

The causes of our crisis

There are many reasons our coast is washing away. Among the major ones is the strict leveeing of the Mississippi River, which has cut off the periodic introduction of nutrients and fresh water that sustain wildlife and vegetation and interrupted the natural processes that built south Louisiana. This deficiency is what sediment diversions, which have been acknowledged as critical elements of any viable coastal restoration plans for more than 50 years, seek to correct.

Other contributors to the disappearance of our coast include hurricanes and tropical storms, which can wipe out large swaths of wetlands in a short period of time; the cutting of canals and shipping channels through fragile wetlands, allowing water to scour through new areas and introducing rapid artificial salinity changes; invasive species such as nutria and wild boar, among many others; oil spills; and rising sea levels.

Fortunately, we have science-based solutions to coastal land loss. We are building a coalition to help. If you care about Louisiana and its future