Issues Facing the Gulf Coast

Long-Term Wetlands Loss

More than one million acres of Louisiana’s coastal marsh has already been lost. In the Chenier Plain rice-growing region of Texas and Louisiana, rice agriculture is rapidly declining. These habitats are vital for the millions of wintering waterfowl that wing their way to the Gulf Coast each year. 

Navigation canals have disrupted natural hydrological and land-building processes. Ironically some flood control measures have accelerated erosion and loss of coastal lands and marshes. Beach erosion, saltwater intrusion and internal marsh erosion over several decades have caused the cumulative loss of more than 1.2 million acres of coastal wetlands. Large scale losses of coastal marsh have significantly impacted the area’s ability to support the waterfowl and other wildlife that depend on it. 

We must act now to conserve what remains, to restore what is lost and to return the system to a self-sustaining balance. If we do not, the people, waterfowl and other wildlife that depend on the Gulf Coast marshes will suffer.

Impacts of the Gulf Oil Spill 

The Gulf Oil Spill of 2010damaged wildlife habitats, communities and economies across the Gulf Coast region. The long-term impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster remain unknown, but DU continues to monitor the oil while working to ensure that wetlands and other wildlife habitats negatively affected by the spill are properly restored. 

2010 OIL SPILL Find out more about DU’s response to the 2010 oil spill.

While vital habitat conservation and restoration is taking place along the Gulf Coast on a daily basis, the enormity of coastal wetland loss along the Gulf Coast can only be adequately addressed by a solution of equal magnitude—the restoration of the marsh-building processes that begin with the Mississippi River.