Louisiana is washing away. Our wetlands are disappearing at the perilous rate of 24 square miles per year – that’s equal to a football field every 38 minutes. Louisiana's extraordinarily productive stretch of coastland is in crisis, and the potential costs for our country defy calculation. Rising seas and the disappearance of protective wetlands threaten Louisiana's broad, heavily populated delta, making it the most endangered coastland on the planet.
From storm-prone cities like New York City and Miami, historic treasures like Venice, Italy and on the disappearing deltas of Vietnam and Bangladesh, more and more coastal communities around the world now find themselves facing coastal deterioration and rising water levels.
Louisiana’s coast is a precious natural, economic and cultural resource. It is an area rich in ecological abundance that supports world-class commercial and recreational fisheries and is home to an array of waterfowl, migratory birds, reptiles and amphibians. It is an area that maintains five of the top 12 ports (by cargo volume) in the United States. It is a major energy supplier of our nation’s oil and natural gas. Above all, the Louisiana coast is home to more than 2 million people – nearly half of the state’s population.
This complex and fragile ecosystem is disappearing at an alarming rate. Between 1932 and 2010, Louisiana’s coast lost more than 1,800 square miles of land. From 2004 through 2008 alone, more than 300 square miles of marshland were lost to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. The major causes of this land loss include the effects of climate change, sea level rise, subsidence, hurricanes, storm surges, disconnection of the Mississippi River from coastal marshes and human impacts.
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More than $250 million has been spent on the first phase of the campus. As it continues to grow, the campus will bring the greatest minds in science and engineering to strengthen efforts to restore and enhance coastal environments in Louisiana, around the country and internationally.