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Benefits of Louisiana's Coastal Wetlands

November 17 2014 | News

Economic Impacts of Coastal Wetlands to Louisiana and the Nation

The site of the Jean Lafitte Swamp Tour is part of the Louisiana wetlands which are vital to the economy and sustainability of the Gulf Coast. If you’re wondering exactly what the value of the Gulf Coast is to our state and nation, check out these top key takeaways, courtesy of restoreorretreat.org.

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  • Louisiana’s coast is a “working coast,” supporting critical infrastructure such as highways, ports, pipelines and navigational waterways of national economic significance. Without coastal restoration, people and businesses that power the nation will be forced to retreat from coastal Louisiana, resulting in severe economic consequences to the nation.
  • Infrastructure along coastal Louisiana is estimated at $150 billion.
  • Louisiana’s coast has world ecological significance with an abundance of fisheries, wildlife and waterfowl, and also serves as a critical migratory flyway. Louisiana's wetland loss could cost the nation $36.6 billion from lost public use value over the next 50 years.
  • 18% of U.S. Oil Production; 24% of U.S. natural gas production originates, is transported through, or is processed in Louisiana coastal wetlands.
    - One fourth of our nation's energy supply depends on the support facilities in South Louisiana.
    - Louisiana's oil and natural gas industries have a value exceeding $16 billion a year.
  • Over 20,000 miles of pipelines are located in federal offshore lands and thousands more inland.
    - Wetlands protect pipelines from waves and insure that the lines stay buried in place.
    - When pipelines are exposed to more waves and storms, it becomes more likely that they will pose a threat to passing water traffic.
  • With 500 million tons of waterborne cargo passing through Louisiana's system of deep-draft ports and navigational channels, Louisiana ranks first in the nation in total shipping tonnage.
    - If present land loss rates continue, more than 155 miles of waterways and several of the ports will be exposed to open water within 50 years.
  • Louisiana's commercial fisheries are the most bountiful of the lower 48 states, providing 25 - 35% of the nation's total catch. Louisiana is first in the annual harvest of oysters, shrimp, crabs crawfish, red snapper, wild catfish, sea trout and mullet.
    - By 2050, the annual loss of commercial fisheries will be nearly $550 million. For recreational fisheries, the total loss will be close to $200 million a year.
  • Wetlands and barrier islands provide a protection barrier from strong winds and hurricanes: every 2.7 miles of wetlands absorbs one foot of storm surge. 

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