Coastal Louisiana’s Loss: 32 Football Fields a Day

CoastalLousianaI went to the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference today to hear a talk on coastal Louisiana. Mind boggling! My National Wildlife Federation colleague Susan Kaderka told us that every day, Louisiana loses an area of coastal wetlands equivalent to the size of 32 football fields. Per year, that accounts for 90% of all the coastal loss in the United States.

This dramatic degradation and decline should concern all of us. Care about protecting communities from hurricanes? Wetlands are a vital buffer. Eat fish? Shrimp? It probably came from Louisiana — 30% of the nation's seafood comes from the state.

Care about waterfowl and migratory birds? More than four million waterfowl rely on these wetlands. That includes more than 100 species of migratory birds — among those, 17 are endangered species. It's an ecosystem in big trouble.

And yet Susan will tell you, "Don't lose hope! We can restore these critical wetlands."

The National Wildlife Federation is working with partners to restore the Bayou Bienvenue cypress swamp — a 31,000 acre area in St. Bernard Parish and eastern New Orleans. This cypress forest used to protect the community and natural resources from storms, and it can again. With global warming increasing sea level, restoration programs like these are more important than ever. 

Learn more at our Coastal Lousiana page!

Published: March 19, 2009