According to a recent study by the U.S. Coast Guard, Louisiana’s barrier islands are eroding at a rate of up to 20 meters per year. Unfortunately, several of these protective land masses will disappear by the end of the century. As these islands disintegrate, the once-sheltered wetlands across Louisiana’s delta plains are exposed to the full force of open marine processes including salinity intrusion, storm surge, and tidal currents, all of which accelerate coastal erosion. The loss of these lands, combined with the result of rising sea levels, continue to threaten the environment and the economic stability of this great state.
More concerning, a study by a team of Tulane University geologists found that Louisiana’s coastline is sinking into the ocean 50% faster than was estimated two years ago. This rate is even faster along the Mississippi River south of New Orleans.
As Louisiana’s shoreline continues to deteriorate, 995,000 people are currently at risk due to coastal flooding. This number will increase by more than 25% by 2050 if Louisianans do not take the necessary steps to protect our great coast for generations to come.
If these trends continue, the ecosystems and communities surrounding the shores and the Mississippi River will be greatly impacted, as economic activity along the river directly supports 1.5 million jobs and generates approximately $496 billion in revenue for the U.S. economy.