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.


Annual Beyond Bow Muzzleloader Scheduled Nov. 11-13

The 2016 Beyond Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Muzzleloader Workshop will be sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Nov. 11-13 in Humphreys County. Female hunters 18 and older will have the opportunity to learn about hunting deer during the weekend. The workshop will be held at Buffalo Ridge Refuge which incorporates a variety of wildlife management practices and totals ... (click for more)

TWRA To Conduct Roadblocks On Agency Controlled Lands

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is planning to conduct roadblocks on several TWRA controlled or managed lands during the upcoming hunting seasons. TWRA controlled and managed lands include Wildlife Management Areas, public hunting areas, wildlife refuges and other properties under agency ownership or control including TVA property, Corps of Engineer lands, and the Cherokee ... (click for more)

County GOP Chairman Says Berke Should Resign For Admittedly Using Encrypted Messaging With Top Staff; Berke, Lee Call It Blatant Partisan Attack

Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Tony Sanders said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke "should immediately resign after admitting that he and his senior staff employ an encrypted message application that neither records or stores messages sent and received for the purpose of official city of Chattanooga business on a government-owned server." He said he was guilty of "deliberates ... (click for more)

Grohn Says Berke Use Of Encrypted Message Service Was Deliberate Attempt To Avoid Open Records

City Councilman Larry Grohn said Friday  that the use of an encrypted message service by Mayor Andy Berke was a deliberate attempt to avoid the Open Records Act. Councilman Grohn, who is running for mayor, said, " In recent days, there has been one story after another come out concerning how the Mayor and his head staffers have used end-to-end encryption apps to ... (click for more)

Chattanooga's Citizens Are The Best

Today, when I finished my shift, my wife and I had a rare kid-free time where she and I could enjoy a nice quiet dinner. So, when I left my extra job and she left her job, we met at a neat local place in St. Elmo. She and I had been looking forward to and planning this dinner all day. You see, between my work with the city of Chattanooga, my many hours of extra jobs, and our responsibilities ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Knobfather & Me

I’ve seen some beautiful things in my life. I’ve eaten dinner inside the Eiffel Tower with the city of Paris all aglitter below. I’ve been sprayed by champagne in the Dallas Cowboys’ dressing room after they won the Super Bowl. I’ve stood both at the top and at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I’ve snorkeled in the Great Exuma islands, learned to snow ski in the Austrian Alps, and ... (click for more)