The Louisiana coast is a magical landscape. It is home to thousands of different species, including wildlife and vegetation. The Louisiana coastline consists of barrier islands, marshes and swamps stretching along the entire Gulf Coast of the state.
These islands, marshes and swamps not only provide a very scenic photo, but also help to reduce the impact of storm surges, which in turns helps reduce the impact of flooding in coastal communities.
Without these barriers, towns across the coast would see a rise in the damage caused by storms such as hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions.
According to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, coastal erosion has claimed over 1,900 square miles of land since the 1930s, and scientist analyst confirmed we could lose up to another 4,120 square miles in the next 50 years.
Louisiana is no stranger to floods, and coastal erosion will cause our floodways to become more vulnerable.
If our waterways are more vulnerable to coastal erosion, damage from flooding will increase from an average of $2.7 billion annually to approximately $19.9 billion annually.
Much of Louisiana’s assets lie along the coast — waterways, natural resources, unique culture and wetlands. The land loss and increased risk of flooding can be catastrophic for the coast.
Weather systems are not the only thing affecting our beautiful coast.
Dredging canals and pipelines help provide our nation with important energy resources, but also have a serious impact on coastal erosion. These things weaken marshes, allowing salt water to spread higher into coastal basins.
While man-made floodgates and levees have helped to provide flood protection, they also have an impact on the coastal erosion.
These forms of river management have channeled the Mississippi river and its tributaries into the Gulf of Mexico. This deprives the coastal ecosystem of the fresh water and sediment it needs to survive.
Coastal preservation should be a concern for every Louisiana citizen because without our coast, we run the risk of having more damage done by natural weather events.
Get involved with groups working to prevent coastal erosion. The CPRA website, coastal.la.gov, has ways to get involved; even if it is just by subscribing to their newsletters or watching their meetings live on Facebook.
Mississippiriverdelta.org has lots of information on the different land types along our coast, and ways they are working to restore the Mississippi River Delta.
Coastal erosion is a real thing. It may take years to see a drastic impact of erosion, but we should not wait until half of the coast’s ecosystem is lost.
Be active. Help save the Louisiana coast, something that is dear to the hearts of every Louisiana citizen
This originally appeared in The Ruston Daily Leader