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Final LCA Report Available    
A final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (FPEIS) and the final Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA), Louisiana - Ecosystem Restoration Study, which identifies the most critical natural and human ecological needs of coastal Louisiana and develops and recommends a near-term program of cost-effective projects to address these needs, are now available.

LCA Final Report
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Wetland loss in coastal Louisiana has reached catastrophic proportions, with current losses of 25-35 square miles per year. Since the magnitude of the problem was identified in the 1970s, we have gained much insight into the processes that lead to wetland creation and destruction. The disappearance of Louisiana’s wetlands threatens the enormous productivity of its coastal ecosystems, the economic viability of its industries, and the safety of its residents. The wetlands support various functions and values, including commercial fisheries; harvesting of furbearers and alligators; recreational fishing and hunting; ecotourism; critical migratory butterfly, songbird and waterfowl habitat; endangered and threatened species habitat; water quality improvement; navigation and waterborne commerce; flood control; buffering protection from storms; and the perpetuation of a unique culture that has developed in this beautiful and bountiful area of the country. (from Coast 2050: Toward a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana)

Coastal Louisiana is important to the local and national economies through oil and gas production, the number one port complex in the Nation, and international seafood and recreation industries. The infrastructure that supports these activities is interwoven with the unique ecosystem created by the Mississippi River in south Louisiana. Additionally, major flood control and river control civil works structures located in coastal Louisiana play an important role in providing for its habitation. Without these measures in place, it would be impossible for south Louisiana's stakeholders to facilitate upper river basin development, agribusiness, water supply, flood control, and navigation on the river and its tributaries. Increasing environmental awareness has led many to recognize the relationships of local and national development to losses being incurred by Louisiana's coastal wetlands and barrier shorelines.

In 1998, the State of Louisiana and its Federal partners approved a coastal restoration plan entitled Coast 2050: Toward a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana. That document presented strategies jointly developed by Federal, State, and Local interests to address Louisiana's massive coastal land loss problem. For the first time, solutions were proposed to address fundamental ecosystem needs in order to prevent the loss of this natural treasure. By implementing the plan’s regional ecosystem strategies, it is envisioned that a sustainable ecosystem will be restored in coastal Louisiana, in large part by utilizing the same natural forces that initially built the landscape.

While the ultimate goal for coastal restoration under the Coast 2050 plan is to implement strategies throughout coastal Louisiana, the Barataria Basin is in dire need of immediate attention. On February 18, 2000, the USACE and LADNR signed a historic agreement to initiate large-scale action to restore this basin. The Barataria Basin has a very high rate of wetland loss, estimated at about 11 square miles per year from 1978-1990 (Fuller et al. 1995). Nevertheless, it has tremendous potential for restoration because of nearby sediment resources in coastal bays, the Mississippi River, and in Federal and State waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Most of the strategies in the Barataria Basin are dependent on the overall input, movement, and circulation of water, sediment, and nutrients in the basin, but some strategies can be implemented largely independently of these considerations. These include barrier shoreline restoration (Strategy R2-22), marsh creation in the southwestern basin (Strategies R2-16 and R2-17), and a delta-building diversion from the lower Mississippi (Strategy R2-11). These strategies can be implemented as separable activities, independent of other strategies in the Barataria Basin and coastal Louisiana. This study will develop plans to submit to the United States Congress requesting authorization and construction funding for ecosystem restoration in the Barataria Basin under the Water Resources Development Act.



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