Over a million acres have disappeared since the 1930s and, at the present loss rate of 24
square miles a year, an additional 500 square miles of coastal land will wash away by 2050.
Gone forever will be precious nursery habitat for fish and shellfish; nesting and feeding
grounds for migratory waterfowl and wildlife; storm surge protection for vulnerable coastal
communities, ports, and roads; and land that buffers oil and gas pipelines, production platforms,
and shore-based processing facilities against storm and wave damage. Louisiana's coastal marshes
are the cradle of nearly one-third of the total commercial fish and shellfish harvest in the lower
48 states. Seventeen percent of the nation’s oil and twenty-five percent of its natural gas are
mined in the state's offshore waters. Louisiana’s four major ports handle more than 21 percent of
U.S. foreign waterborne trade. Calling Louisiana’s coastal marshes "a national treasure" is no exaggeration.
We are losing this valuable habitat for several reasons including a lack of sediment being deposited
by the Mississippi River, saltwater intrusion into our freshwater marshes, natural waterways being modified
by man, boat wakes, and a loss of sediment that is trapped behind dams along the Upper Mississippi River.