Louisiana Coastal Wetlands

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Wetland loss has plagued the US since European settlement and has resulted in the loss of half the nation's historical wetland in the past 200 years.  The Louisiana coastal wetlands compose 40% of the wetland area in the continental United States, but are suffering 80% of the loss.  At the current rate of degradation, this vast tract of wetland will disappear in another 200 years.  The Louisiana coastal wetlands cover 300 km  of coastline and go as far as 130 km inland.  These wetlands are found at the base of the Mississippi River, historically filtering sediment, nutrients, and pollutants from the huge drainage basin covering 41% of the lower 48 states.  The Louisiana coastal wetlands are disappearing at a very alarming rate of 1 acre every 24 minutes, resulting in huge losses from the historic extent of approximately 4.5 million acres.  Wetland loss can be a natural occurrence in the deltaic cycle but this is far outweighed by anthropogenic impacts such as wetland destruction and river channel alteration.  The channelization and control structures present on the rivers that feed the wetlands have resulted in a loss of season flooding, the life-blood of the coastal wetlands.  This loss will have far-reaching impacts on the environmental and economic health of Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico.  This website will detail the natural history and the human interactions of this vast and important ecosystem.  Please navigate this site to learn about the beauty and importance of this system before it is lost.  

Wetland Formation
Animal Life
Plant Life
Ecosystem Function
Human Settlement
Human Interactions

Website created and maintained by Joe Bartlett
Last updated:  March 7th