DRAFT Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast
Louisiana’s coast is a precious natural, economic, and cultural resource. It is an area rich in ecological abundance that supports world-class commercial and recreational fisheries and is home to an array of waterfowl, migratory birds, reptiles, and amphibians. It is an area that maintains five of the largest ports in the United States. It is a major energy supplier of our nation’s oil and natural gas. Above all, the Louisiana coast is home to more than 2 million people – nearly half of the state’s population. Our people have a deep and abiding love for their coast and a rich cultural heritage closely connected to the land and water.
This complex and fragile ecosystem is disappearing at an alarming rate. Between 1932 and 2010, Louisiana’s coast lost more than 1,800 square miles of land. From 2004 through 2008 alone, more than 300 square miles of marshland were lost to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike. The culprits to this land loss include the effects of climate change, sea level rise, subsidence, hurricanes, storm surges, flooding, disconnecting the Mississippi River from coastal marshes, and human impacts.
The 2017 Coastal Master Plan sets an ambitious path to respond to the loss of our coastal land and the threats from storm surge events. The master plan, in its purest sense, is a list of projects that build or maintain land and reduce risk to our communities. For the 2017 Coastal Master Plan, we built on the commitment and knowledge gained from the previous master plans. We used the best available science and engineering to prioritize and sequence projects for implementation. We made it a priority to engage our coastal stakeholders and communities in the planning process, because, in the end, they are part of the solution and the most important reason for preserving this national treasure that is coastal Louisiana.