Louisiana Coastal Wetlands: Restore or Retreat
Imagine returning to your Hometown 30 to 40 years from now to find it completely replaced by wetlands. This is the reality that many Louisiana natives living along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico will have to face if coastal erosion continues at the pace it is going. Costello proclaims, “Since 1932, when the Department of Natural Resources began keeping thorough, accurate records, Louisiana has lost over 1,900 square miles or 1.2 million acres of coastal land due to coastal erosion. (19). Loss of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands is a problem that will impact a wide range of individuals, from those living in metropolitan areas far away to those living in smaller cities along the shoreline. The resources that this ecosystem supplies are utilized nationwide. The United States is expected to lose billions of dollars from the seafood industry, oil and gas revenue, and commercial shipping if Louisiana’s coast disappears (“Turning the Tide: the Fight to Keep Coastal Louisiana on the Map”, 1). While the state makes up forty percent of the United State’s wetlands, it regrettably accounts for eighty percent of land loss (Williams 1). Louisiana’s wetlands are home to fish, plants, and other wild life exclusive to the area. Sadly, their habitat is steadily shrinking and exactly half of Louisiana’s original wetlands have already been lost over the past 200 years (Williams 1). Southern Louisiana is also residence to a unique, lively, and diverse group of people that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. They have an amazing culture that can be depicted in movies like Princess and the Frog, which will hopefully stay in tact in the midst of all the land loss. According to S. Jeffress Williams and the U.S. Geological Survey, "The swamps and marshes of coastal Louisiana are among the Nation's most fragile and valuable wetlands, vital not only to recreational and agricultural interests but also the State's more than $1 billion...
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