Gulf Coast Suffers Majority Of Coastal Wetlands Loss

Monday, January 13, 2014
As coastal marshes turn into open water, the economic and ecological health of the nation is increasingly threatened.
As coastal marshes turn into open water, the economic and ecological health of the nation is increasingly threatened.

Wetland loss along the accounts for a staggering 71 percent of the coastal wetland loss in the United States each year, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) .

“Louisiana's coastal land loss is the greatest environmental, economic and cultural tragedy in North America,” said Phil Turnipseed, director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wetlands Research Center.

Ducks Unlimited points to the study as support for their Gulf Coast Initiative and prioritization of Gulf Coast habitat conservation.

“Despite our best efforts at protecting and restoring critical habitat, these losses continue to erode the capacity for coastal Louisiana and Texas to support waterfowl in the single most important wintering area on the continent,” said DU Director of Conservation Programs Jerry Holden.

Based on the best available data, coastal wetland loss since the 1970s means today’s available habitat supports an estimated three million fewer ducks in Louisiana. Coastal marsh loss in Texas, combined with drought and the disappearance of rice agriculture, is adding to the already-dramatic foraging deficit on critical wintering grounds for waterfowl species such as pintails.

Despite recognition of coastal wetlands as water filters; barriers against flood waters; storm mitigators; and aids to local, regional and national economies, the national loss rate has increased by more than 20,000 acres per year, now at 80,000 acres annually.

“We have to stabilize and ultimately reverse the rate of loss of these critical wetlands,” said Tom Moorman, director of DU’s Southern Region. “Ducks Unlimited works with a variety of state, federal and nongovernmental partners, as well as private landowners, to conserve and improve wetland habitats for waterfowl and other species, and we continue to look for ways to increase the rate of coastal wetland restoration with our partners.”

For example, DU is seeking additional support for conservation projects via funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

DU is also involved in an innovative partnership with the rice industry to enhance working wetlands on coastal prairies connected to the marshes and supports the use of freshwater and sediment diversions where appropriate to build marsh and important waterfowl and wildlife habitat.

“We must all work together and make coastal wetland restoration a priority. These wetlands are vital for waterfowl, but also absolutely crucial to the nation’s economy and security,” Mr. Moorman said. “In the face of sea-level rise, coastal marsh loss and increasingly costly hurricanes, storm surge absorption is more vital than ever to the nation’s economic security.”

Coastal wetlands serve as natural protection from storm-related flooding. By some estimates, approximately three miles of coastal wetlands shrink storm surges by up to a foot.

The full NOAA report – “Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of the Conterminous United States 2004 to 2009” – and past reports can be found at: www.fws.gov/wetlands/Status-and-Trends/index.html. Learn more about DU’s Gulf Coast Initiative at www.ducks.org/GulfCoastInitiative.



A Native Fish Returns To Parksville Reservoir

Catching a trophy musky, or any size for that matter, can be an incredible angling experience. The Cumberland and Tennessee River Basins provide exciting and unique opportunities for Tennessee musky anglers. Parksville Reservoir is the latest water within the historic musky range, to be targeted for establishing a fishery.  In October, TWRA stocked 600 musky in Parksville Reservoir ... (click for more)

TVCC Presents $5,042 To Chattanooga Team River Runner

The Tennessee Valley Canoe Club (TVCC) presented a check for $5,042 to Team River Runner Chattanooga (TRR)  Saturday  evening at  the TVCC annual holiday party.  The money will be used by TRR to help wounded military veterans.  The check was presented by TVCC President Heather Curry to Julie Wright-Carlson, TRR Chattanooga Whitewater Chapter Coordinator. ... (click for more)

Witness Says Mayes Wanted To Fire More Shots Into Man Who Owed Him Money

A woman testified Tuesday that Jamaal Mayes told her he wanted to shoot Willie "Fathead" Bacon "five or six more times" after plugging him with a fatal shot to the chest. General Sessions Court Judge Lila Statom bound charges of criminal homicide and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon to the Grand Jury after the testimony. The 39-year-old victim's body was found ... (click for more)

Overflow Crowd Attends Latest Signal Mountain Meeting On Leaving County Schools

The December meeting of the Signal Mountain Town Council was for the most part devoted to giving citizens another chance to voice their opinions and ask questions about forming a new school district separate from Hamilton County. More people interested in the subject came than could be admitted to the council room because of fire capacity and the crowd overflowed into the lobby. ... (click for more)

All I Want For Christmas Are Digitized Newspapers For 2018 - And Response

With recent news of the Public Library investing in their own StoryCorps-ish effort with the Chattanooga Memory Project, it got me thinking about digitizing local newspapers again.   It's been two and a half years since the Chattanooga Public Library committed to sending out a request for proposals to digitize the local newspapers they have on microfilm. Back in ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Top Of My Desk

I am always pleasantly amused when people ask me how I can come up with something different to write about each day. The truth is that it is a rare day indeed when there isn’t something I want to share. As I sat down at my desk yesterday and looked about, I laughed at myself because there were several stacks each worthy of a story so please allow me to present “the best of” the ... (click for more)