Coastal Land Loss Slowing For Now

Jul 12, 2017

A new study shows Louisiana’s land loss has slowed down a little bit. But that’s still not necessarily good news.


It’s almost become a tired refrain here in Louisiana -- the state loses an average of about a football field of land every hour. Now it takes about 100 minutes, roughly an hour and a half for that much land to wash into the Gulf of Mexico.


The study, from the U.S. Geological Survey, says land loss could be slowing for a few of reasons. Like hurricanes, for example. They can do LOTS of damage, but we haven’t had a major hurricane since 2008.


All those coastal restoration projects could be contributing, too.


Brady Couvillion is the lead researcher on the study. He says this doesn’t mean the forecast is rosy, though.


"If someone were stealing $3,000 from your bank account, and now all of a sudden they’re stealing $1,000 from your bank account,” he says, “it’s still a tremendous problem.”


Couvillion says it’s a brief moment of good news, but sea level rise could speed things up again in coming years.


Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Coypu Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and local listeners.