My EIS - 1 A Discussion of the Louisiana Coastal Area Study...

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1 A Discussion of the Louisiana Coastal Area Study (LCA) Environmental Impact Statement Submitted to Professor Friesma and TA Andrew Kelly US Environmental Politics December 4, 2007 by
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2 Project Background: Louisiana boasts one of the largest systems of coastal wetlands in the United States. Because of its expansive area, these coastal wetlands contain a rich diversity of wildlife in habitats ranging from sandy beaches or levee ridges to freshwater, brackish, and saline marshes or swamps thickly forested by cypress trees. The wetlands are crucial stops for almost 70 percent of all waterfowl migrating through the United States and many endangered bird species that mainly nest in the Louisiana coastlands (DEIS 1, 2-3). Not only is the coastal wetland and barrier island system an extremely productive natural asset in terms of fish, birds, and other species, but it is also home to over 2 million people and provides many “internationally significant commercial-industrial complex[es]” with an important buffer from tropical storms and hurricanes (DEIS 1-3). Considering all these factors then, it is alarming that this area also accounts for 90 percent of all coastal wetland loss in the United States, with a loss of approximately 1.2 million acres since the 1930s. Mainly because of human diversion, much of the sediments from the Mississippi River now flow directly into the Gulf of Mexico with the freshwater from the river. This deprivation of the critical sediments has led to a complete halt of the deltaic process which built the coastal wetlands several thousand years ago. With the loss of sediments and freshwater, the loss of actual land coupled with the increased salinity of the remaining wetlands slowly kills off the plants living on its surface—the buffering property of the wetlands (DEIS, 1-2) Although there were efforts made to stem the loss of coastal Louisiana, namely in the Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Task Force and the Coastal Wetlands, Planning, Protection and Restoration Act of 1990 (CWPPRA), the projects undertaken were
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3 usually on an extremely small scale (Boesch 15). It was recognized that with the advent of more severe storms buffeting the coastline, a comprehensive coastal restoration effort was needed. As a result, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the State of Louisiana commenced the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Comprehensive Coastwide Ecosystem Restoration Study. The LCA identified critical restoration areas with an intention of developing a framework for short-term restoration as well as larger-scale and long term restoration (DEIS, 1-4) Although the USACE was ultimately in charge of the LCA Study, there was extensive collaboration with other national and local natural resource agencies such as the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in scientific studies, analysis, and the final writing of the Draft Environmental Impact
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My EIS - 1 A Discussion of the Louisiana Coastal Area Study...

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