In recent years, dire predictions of catastrophic consequences have fueled Louisiana's efforts to restore our failing coast. Comprising nearly 1/3 of our state's land area and home to 2/3 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 1500 square miles of coastal Louisiana have been lost. Without immediate and decisive action, Louisiana stands to lose an additional 1000 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 provides and indispensable storm buffer for communities, transportation routes and energy infrastructure.
Coastal Louisiana has lost an average of 34 square miles of land, primarily marsh, per year for the last 50 years. From 1932 to 2000, Coastal Louisiana lost 1900 square miles of land, roughly an area the size of Delaware. If nothing more is done to stop this land loss, Louisiana could potentially lose approximately 700 additional square miles of land, or an area about equal to the size of the greater Washington D.C. – Baltimore area, in the next 50 years.
The land loss between 1932 – 2000 is historical. The land loss between 2000 – 2050 is projected based on historical trending if no further action is taken.