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NOAA Helps Experts Review Mississippi River Marshland Restoration Plans

Guided by NOAA scientists, officials from Louisiana and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are convening the nation’s leading marsh restoration experts on February 23, 2011 to evaluate the merits of opening Mississippi River channels.

In Louisiana, sinking and eroding marshlands have led to increased hurricane damage and offshore dead zones. Coastal communities, economies, and ecosystems suffer as a result, but there is much debate over how to restore these fragile areas. Continued losses are unacceptable for both people and environment, but the cost to restore these marshes is high.

The objectives of this workshop are to review conflicting and controversial science to reach agreement on what is known and determine which critical research questions remain. The agreements will give the Louisiana Coastal Area Science and Technology Program information on how to proceed with their restoration plans.

The coastal wetlands of Louisiana are among America’s most productive and important natural assets in terms of habitat, wildlife diversity, storm protection, port commerce, and oil and natural gas production.

Louisiana coastal wetlands account for 90 percent of the total coastal marsh loss occurring in the United States, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Louisiana’s plan envisions restoration strategies to achieve and sustain a coastal ecosystem that can support and protect the environment, economy, and culture of southern Louisiana.

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Shorter web link for sharing: http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/news/?p=4785

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