For World Water Day, Here’s How Louisiana is Using Nature to Restore its Coast

03.22.2018 | In Coastal Restoration

Today is the United Nations’ 25th World Water Day – an international observance and opportunity to learn about water-related issues, be inspired and teach others, and take action to make a difference.

The theme for this year’s World Water Day is “Nature for Water,” which explores nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.

For those of us living in coastal Louisiana, we understand the importance and value of living with water. The Mississippi River Delta and our coast are disappearing at an astonishing rate: a football field of wetlands vanishes into open water every 100 minutes.

Louisiana has already lost 1.2 million acres of land — an area the size of Delaware – since the 1930s. Without action, Louisiana is projected to lose an additional 4,000 square miles over the next 50 years. As the delta disappears, so does the myriad of benefits these coastal wetlands provide, including natural protection for communities and industries and habitat for fish and wildlife.

The Solution

Conceptual design concept for a sediment diversion. Credit: CPRA

Fortunately, we have the opportunity to reduce land loss and restore our coast by using a combination of protection and restoration projects, including nature-based solutions. Sediment diversions mimic nature’s historic land-building processes by using the power of the river to move sediment and fresh water from the river into nearby basins to build and sustain coastal wetlands.

We need the full suite of restoration projects outlined in Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan to build and sustain land, but sediment diversions are crucial to confronting our ongoing land loss crisis.

Learn more about sediment diversions!