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Louisiana Wet Land Loss
The coastal land loss for Louisiana has become a growing concern for the people of Southeast Louisiana over the last decade. “Coastal Louisiana wetlands make up the seventh largest delta on Earth, contain about 37 percent of the herbaceous marshes in the United States, and support the largest fishery supply in the bottom 48 states”(Couvillion 2011). “Louisiana is home to two million people and it supports vital ecosystems, national energy security, thousands of jobs, and a unique culture” (Louisiana’s Coast 2013). “The wetlands loss, erosion, subsidence, climate change, sea level rise, storms surge, drought, continuous flooding, and saltwater intrusion all threaten the life of Louisiana’s Coast” (Louisiana’s Coast 2013). “Louisiana currently undergoes about 90 percent of the total coastal wetland loss in the United States” (Couvillion 2011). The understanding of the loss of land is crucial when determining a plan to restore the preservations. “Sustainability needs to be restored to the coastal ecosystem, or the land will continue to be loss at a rapid rate and the critical infrastructure will be damaged” (Louisiana’s Coast 2013). “The pipelines, offshore support centers, and other facilities constructed for coastal conditions will soon be subject to the open water of the Gulf of Mexico if not sustained” (Louisiana’s Coast 2013). “Fisheries and wildlife stocks will decline as spawning, breeding, and foraging grounds are lost to the engulfing water” (Louisiana’s Coast 2013). “The nation will lose priceless habitat whose essential value is recognized around the world” (Louisiana’s Coast 2013).
The causes of Louisiana’s coastal wetland loss are fairly simple, so many want to believe the solutions are just as simple. The case between the two is unfortunately very complex. The various locations and different combinations of factors require a set of different solutions. “A primary cause of Louisiana coastal land loss comes from subsidence” (America’s Wetland 2012). “Subsidence is the decrease in the level of the soil’s surface and this is recorded relative to the mean sea level” (America’s Wetland 2012). The intricate system for measuring subsidence is very detailed and precise. As long as soil is still in Louisiana’s coastal wetland subsidence will continue to exist. “The effect of subsidence along Louisiana’s coastal zone is that as the soil subsides, the sea creeps further inland covering valuable resources and places where we live”( America’s Wetland).
Subsidence in Louisiana’s Coastal Wetland continues to grow at great lengths.
• Subsidence in Louisiana’s Coastal Wetland can be subdivided into two separate categories for further explanation. • “Surface subsidence is a type of subsidence that occurs when the soil near the surface is sinking” (America’s Wetland 2012). • “The first cause of surface subsidence comes from when soil particles fit close together, they will occupy less space so the surface sinks” (America’s Wetland 2012). “When water is removed from the soil, the spaces once filled with water now fill with air so the soil particles will move closer together for the surface to subside” (America’s Wetland 2012). • “The marshes (organic matter) decompose and the soil subsides as particles move into the spaces formerly filled with organic matter resulting in surface subsidence” (America’s Wetland 2012). “Plants in the gulf will die and their roots decay, soil subsides as the particles move closer together” (America’s Wetland 2012). • Geologic subsidence is the second subsidence category in the cause of Louisiana’s Coastal Wetland loss. [pic] Figure 1: Geologic Subsidence • This type of subsidence is...
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