WHAT IS AMERICA’S WETLAND? Coastal Louisiana has been branded as America’s WETLAND due to its vital importance to the well being of the United States.
WHEN WE SAY “WETLAND LOSS,” WHAT DO WE MEAN? It is the conversion of vegetated wetlands to open water.
HOW MUCH OF AMERICA’S WETLAND HAS BEEN LOST SINCE 1932 (WHEN THE BEST RECORDS STARTED)? 1,900 square miles (1.2 million acres), approximately the size of Delaware.
WHAT IS THE RATE OF WETLAND LOSS TODAY? America’s WETLAND is losing about 10.3 square miles of vegetated wetlands per year.
WHAT IS A GOOD VISUAL EXAMPLE OF THAT LOSS RATE? At a loss rate of 10.3 square miles per year, we are losing about one Saints or Tiger Stadium football field of wetlands every 1 hour 30 minutes. Are you a baseball fan? We lose a piece of America’s WETLAND the size of Tulane’s Turchin Field every 2 hours 30 minutes. A basketball fan? The Hornets lose their home court every 6 minutes.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CAUSES OF WETLAND LOSS?
- Our levees have cut off sediment replenishment from the overflow of the river.
- Oil and gas exploration and pipeline canals have allowed extensive salt water intrusion into freshwater areas. These activities were done legally and to meet the national need for energy.
- Navigation channels have also allowed the distribution of salt water into fresh areas.
- Natural sinking of the sediments and natural sea level rise.
WHY IS AMERICA’S WETLAND IMPORTANT TO LOUISIANIANS?
- America's WETLAND buffers two million American citizens in Louisiana from hurricane damage.
- America’s WETLAND is the source of much of our economy.
- Energy - oil and gas
- America’s WETLAND is so important to the recreation of our citizens.
- America's WETLAND is the basis of our culture and spirit.
WHY IS AMERICA’S WETLAND IMPORTANT TO ALL U.S. CITIZENS?
- America's WETLAND buffers important U.S. cities and tax-supported infrastructure from hurricane damage
- Had America's WETLAND east of the Mississippi River been healthy, the U.S. would have saved tens of billions of dollars after Hurricanes Katrina & Rita
- Each 2.7 miles of healthy coastal marsh reduces tidal surge from storms by one foot. Thus, about 80 miles of restored coastal marsh below New Orleans would have prevented most of the flooding form Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
- America's WETLAND and associated environs are important to the nation's economy
- America's WETLAND is the leading producer of oysters in the U.S.
- America's WETLAND produces over 50% of the nation's shrimp crop
- America's WETLAND is the home of 75% of the nation's alligator harvest
- America's WETLAND is home to the largest port complex in the U.S.
- America's WETLAND is the portal for 27% of the nation's oil & gas
- America's WETLAND is a key geographic area for the nation's wildlife
- 5 million waterfowl depend on America's WETLAND each winter
- 79 species of endangered plants and animals rely on America's WETLAND for survival
WHEN WE SAY “RESTORE AMERICA’S WETLAND,” WHAT DO WE MEAN? We simply mean doing all we can to slow the loss rate, rebuilding wetlands where feasible, and saving their values.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR PROGRAMS THAT WE ARE USING TO FIGHT THE LOSS OF AMERICA’S WETLAND?
- Public awareness
- America’s WETLAND: Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana - a public education initiative created by the State of Louisiana in 2003 and now run by the Board of Directors of the America's Wetland Foundation.
- CWPPRA - Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act
- LCA - Louisiana Coastal Area - Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration