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In Louisiana, the mouth of the Mississippi River forms the biggest delta in the United States, with extensive estuaries, coastal marshes, and mangroves. These wetlands are already being lost at the alarming rate of 60 acres a day due to sea-level rise, local subsidence (sinking of land), and human interference with coastal processes.
Although massive efforts are already underway to restore the state's precious coastal wetlands, global warming threatens to undermine these efforts and intensify the existing threats to this valuable ecosystem. An additional threat to wetlands comes from the possibility of increased droughts and lack of freshwater runoff into coastal wetlands due to a changing climate. This could increase the "brown marsh" phenomenon, or marsh dieback, as illustrated by the extended drought from 1998-2000.
These natural resources, already stressed from human pressures, are at risk of further damage from human-induced climate change. Historically, Louisiana's climate is highly variable and sometimes extreme—climate change may intensify this pattern. There is already evidence of a warming and changing climate in the state.
An accelerating loss of wetlands would have significant consequences. For example, as wetlands vanish:
More on Louisiana:
Introduction | Climate Projections | Wetlands | Fisheries | Coastal Development | Freshwater Resources | Agriculture & Forestry | Human Health | LA Resources & Links
Brown Pelican - South Florida Water Management District.
Brown Marsh - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, G. Linscombe.
Cypress-tupelo swamp - USGS, D. Demchek.
• Apalachicola Bay
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• Mississippi Delta