New report says addressing Louisiana coastal loss is worth national investment

A recent report by the Mississippi River Delta Science and Engineering Special Team addressed 10 fundamental questions about saving the Mississippi River Delta, including how to reverse coastal marsh loss, what impacts could result from restoration efforts and the economic blow to Louisiana and the nation if this important coastal ecosystem is lost.

The economic health of much of the United States depends on sustaining the navigation, flood control and energy and seafood production functions of this system, the report says. Each of those functions is currently at risk due to the degradation of coastal wetlands.

"Ducks Unlimited has long recognized the Gulf Coast marshes and prairies as the single most important waterfowl wintering habitat on the continent," said Tom Moorman, DU director of conservation planning. "If we do not restore the system's ability to maintain and build coastal wetlands, waterfowl, fisheries and other wildlife will be displaced, along with the billions of dollars in economic infrastructure and the millions of people that live and work along the Gulf Coast."

Coastal marsh loss is not a local problem. Many of the nation's energy and shipping industries depend on the same marshes, which support multi-billion-dollar fishing and wildlife industries. Just three weeks of oil and natural gas production from coastal Louisiana support $4.5 billion in sales and 45,000 jobs. has Americans have the opportunity to support coastal restoration right now by urging Congress to pass the RESTORE Act, a bill which would direct Clean Water Act penalties related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster back to the Gulf Coast states impacted by the spill.