Restoration:  Past Present and Future

The alarmingly high land loss rates have created a significant need for a large-scale restoration plan for coastal Louisiana.  To date a few legislative measures have been passed that attempt to address the issue, but there is still need for a massive plan.  The Coast 2050 report is under Congressional consideration, and has already been adopted by multiple state agencies.  The Coast 2050 is a major plan calling for 14 billion state and federal dollars used to restore the structure and function of the coastal wetlands by 2050.  This cost is far outweighed by the projected loss of 37 billion dollars in lost functions and uses.  

Existing legislation

  • Federal Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (Breaux Act):  Enacted by US Congress in 1990, the Act has provided 36 million a year for restoration projects. The act laid the plans to raise 250 million dollars in order to prevent 13% of the land loss.  The Act has also served to forge partnerships between state and federal agencies to provide a platform for long term plan development.  The plan addresses new sources of wetland loss by requiring an alternative plan investigation if more than a ½ acre of wetland is threatened.  
  • Caernarvon and Davis Pond Freshwate Diversion projects cost 130 million dollars and are succeeding to diver freshwater into marshes to prevent 9% of loss.  The diversions were designed primarily to prevent salt water intrusion, but marsh restoration was the result.
  • Act 6:  State legislation passed in 1989 as a decisive stand on wetland loss. The act recognized the catastrophic loss rates and provided tools to address this.  Act 6 created the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities, the Office of Restoration and Management in the Department of Natural Resources, and the State Wetlands Authority.  The Act also created a fund to provide restoration money.  It is a sound framework but lacks what is fully needed to address the problem


Coast 2050
The plan has already been adopted by the Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Authority as it's official restoration plan.  The plan is under consideration for state adoption.  
Primary goals of the proposed restoration plan are:
  • Assure vertical accumulation to achieve sustainability
  • Maintain estuarine gradient to achieve diversity
  • Maintain exchange and interface to achieve system linkages
  • Enhance the ecosystem by using resources more efficiently
  • Maintain the ecosystem by addressing known risks
  • Recover the ecosystem by reversing the loss process
  • Rebuild the ecosystem by creating new wetlands
The management objectives include:
  • The plan seeks to further understanding through research
  • Incorporates public, private, and governmental initiatives
  • The project is designed to define clear, concise, and achievable goals along with a timeline for completion
  • The high ridges and landforms are crucial to the stability of the system and there is nothing remaining to recreate them
  • Accounting for the oil resources in LA which are crucial to the nation as a whole
  • Optimize internal management of state’s coastal restoration efforts
  • Create the Governor’s Commission on Coastal Restoration
  • Maximize opportunites from Water Resources Development Act
  • Ensure sufficient state funding for an expanded restoration program
  • Governor must secure 150-200 million a year to match state contributions
  • Raise national and local public awareness of land loss
  • Explore legislational and/or constitutional tools that address concerns

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