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June 2, 2011

Today, the United States Geological Survey’s National Wetlands Research Center released a new report on coastal Louisiana land loss. The report concludes that nearly 1,900 square miles of coastal Louisiana have been lost since 1932.

The report indicates that the rate of coastal loss over the 2008-2010 period has significantly decreased and the state may have actually gained land during this two year period.

“We appreciate the work of USGS’ National Wetlands Research Center to improve the measure of coastal loss in Louisiana. These new products will help to affirm the best coastal project investments in Louisiana, but we are not anywhere near the time to pop the champagne cork – perhaps just a sip of your neighbor’s beer. While there has been some short-term progress, Louisiana’s coastal crisis and the urgency of the situation is no less than before”, commented Garret Graves, chair of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

A number of fundamental reforms in Louisiana’s coastal efforts have been imposed over the last few years. These include:

  • 2007: the state developed the first coastal master plan
  • 2008: integration of coastal restoration, hurricane protection, flood control, mitigation and community resiliency into the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA)
  • 2009: integration of all coastal project implementation into the CPRA
  • 2009: reforms in coastal resource management and mitigation were imposed

“The take away here is that our coast appears to be showing some ability to recover and a positive response to our changes in coastal management and project investment. We believe that this shows sustainability is achievable. Over the past few years, we have established more robust coastal management practices and have helped implement over 80 projects that have contributed to decreasing or offsetting wetlands loss. If anything, now is the time to redouble efforts”, Graves continued.

Since 2008, Governor Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana Legislature have made exponential increases in hurricane protection, coastal restoration, flood control and community resiliency. During this period, the CPRA has approved an estimated $1.5 billion in coastal investments in Louisiana.