Earlier this month, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency in response to the state’s rapidly disappearing coastline. The state of emergency coincides with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority approving a new draft of the state’s 50-year master plan to battle the quickly receding coastline.
“Decades of saltwater intrusion, subsidence and rising sea levels have made the Louisiana coast the nation’s most rapidly deteriorating shoreline. It loses the equivalent of one football field of land every hour,” a recent NPR article explained.
According to the declaration, if no further action is taken, an additional 2,250 square miles of coastal Louisiana is expected to be lost in the next 50 years. An overthrow such as this would potentially wreak havoc on the state’s economy and natural resources. Commenting to the Crimson White, scientist and professor Julia Cherry elaborated on the importance of reinforcing coastal ecosystems.
“Coastal wetlands, including marshes of Louisiana, provide a number of ecosystem services, on which humans depend. These can be things like protection from floods, mitigating storm surge damage, providing habitat for ecologically and economically important species, and oil and gas exploration.”
As the Governor detailed in his declaration, the passage of the $50 billion “Master Plan” was crucial in helping the state prepare with rising sea levels in the decades to come. Rebuilding marshes and barriers are just several of the more than 100 projects currently ear marked in the plan. According to an article written by NPR, the state will “rely largely on money from the settlement of the 2010 BP oil spill litigation to speed restoration of coastal land and wetlands.”
In the coming months, Governor Edwards is expected to ask the Presidential Administration to declare the erosion of the state’s coastline a national emergency and provide the necessary federal cooperation and support. The national declaration will also propose that Congress consider legislation that will expedite all federal permitting and environmental review processes.
Given the urgency that is required to rehabilitate the coastline, The New Orleans Advocate highlighted that “projects to help stave off land loss will take years to design and build, but an emergency declaration could cut years off the permitting process for those projects.”
 Kennedy, Merrit. Louisiana’s Governor Declares State of Emergency Over Disappearing Coastline. National Public Radio, April 20, 2017. Web.
 Stansell, Bennett. Rolling the tide back from Louisiana’s coast. The Crimson White, April 29, 2017. Web.
 Kennedy. Louisiana’s Governor Declares State of Emergency Over Disappearing Coastline.
Roberts, Faimon. Louisiana gets 50-year blueprint to save coast; emergency declaration may help get it done. The New Orleans Advocate, April 19, 2017. Web.
Picture Reference: National Ocean Services Flickr