Louisiana ranks second only to Alaska in total pounds of commercial fish and shellfish landed each year. The state accounts for roughly 30 percent of the total volume of U.S. fisheries, with a value of approximately $1 billion annually. Louisiana also provides 35-40 percent of the annual U.S. shrimp and oyster harvests.
Wetlands are nurseries for these rich fisheries. Louisiana’s coastal habitat is also the state’s first line of defense during storms, reducing the devastating effects of wind, waves, and flooding. However, in the lifetime of a child born today, approximately 800,000 acres of Louisiana wetlands will be lost, moving the coastline inland by 33 miles in some areas. This means we are also losing important fisheries and wildlife habitat.
NOAA works through the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act to restore Louisiana’s coastal habitat. We work with state and federal partners and landowners to fund and implement large-scale restoration projects. These projects slow the high rate of wetlands loss in Louisiana, while improving marine fisheries. They also protect communities and vital oil and gas infrastructure from storm damage.
NOAA and its partners have been critical to the success of these restoration projects. We have constructed nearly 40 wetland restoration projects through this program, restoring more than 11,000 acres of vulnerable coastline since 1990.