Why is Louisiana Losing a “Football Field” Worth of Land Per Hour?

According to Tulane University New Orleans, the state of Louisiana is losing approximately 1 football field worth of land every hour due to natural processes and human activity.

Torbjörn E. Törnqvist, Geology professor at Tulane, told factcheck.org, “Estimates vary a bit, but by and large the one football field per hour metaphor is very reasonable.”

According to the US Geological Survey in 2011, the coastal wetlands of Louisiana is the 7th largest delta in the world, yet is losing 16.5 miles per year, equating to 1 football field per hour. Louisiana is home to some of the largest commercial fisheries in the continental United States.

The gradual loss processes are due to episodic events such as hurricanes and human activity. The time frame of change is between 1932 and 2010.

Scientists contribute the coastal loss to rising sea levels, sinking land and reduced sediment flow from the Mississippi delta. All three contribute to lack of flood protection in Louisiana during hurricanes or tropical storm which drastically effect the oil, gas and agriculture industries.

Human-induced processes are also to blame for land loss. Dredges used to build canals to support commercial industries have damaged the freshwater wetlands in Louisiana by mixture of the saltwater coming from the Gulf of Mexico, destroying the ecosystem in some areas.

Sediment flow, above all other factors, is an alarming factor. it creates the land for centuries to come, yet is being dredged to prevent river flooding.

Read more in-depth coverage at FactCheck.Org


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