Coastal erosion has occurred on the Louisiana Gulf Coast between 1932 and 2010 resulting in approximately 1880 square miles of land lost, through which “wetland habitat becomes open water, the shoreline retreats, and dry upland areas sub-side.”* According to this study, an additional 1,750 square miles of land mass could erode over the next 50 years if actions are not taken. The economic impact is enormous. There is an increase in the capacity of storm damage further inland precipitated by land loss, as well as increased disruption in the eco-system services such as the seafood industry and recreation. A risk in the loss of capital stock arises as land mass is lost. This includes residential and non-residential structures; network infrastructure such as waterways, railways, and roads; as well as oil and natural gas transportation systems. It disrupts economic activity, including the flow of commodities and trade which links Coastal Louisiana to rest of the world.
Coastal restoration is of paramount importance
How can coastal restoration be achieved?
In 2005, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the State of Louisiana created the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). The most up-to-date Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan developed by the CPRA is to invest $50 billion to build and maintain land, reduce flood risks to communities, and to provide habitats to support eco-systems. There are 120 projects that build or maintain more than 800 square miles of land. According to the CPRA, this will reduce expected damages by more than $150 billion over the next 50 years.
In 1988, the public and private sector incorporated the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to rebuild and maintain the coastal region. They are a watchdog group, advocating at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure that restoring and protecting the Louisiana coastline is the top priority.
Coastal Restoration is not an quick process and requires unique equipment designed to work in the marshes. Wilco Manufacturing amphibious equipment has proven to be extremely reliable in these types of coastal restorations applications world wide. The Amphibious equipment has been used in land reclamation & development, dredging, environmental clean up, levee & wetland reclamation.
*Economic Evaluation of Land Lost, LSU Economics & Research Group and the Rand Corporation, December 2015.