The United States of America is having to contend a potential threat to economic stability through the most unusual and alarming of occurrences. The coastline of Louisiana has been steadily vanishing and this leads many to predict a doomsday when the Gulf of Mexico can actually start knocking on New Orleans’ doors. The entire U.S. economy stands to lose on account of a fast vanishing coastline and this has sparked the ringing of alarm bells across the scientific and environmental communities already.
There are three major factors that may be held responsible for Louisiana’s Disappearing Coastline
- Levees present along the river Mississippi
- Extraction of fossil fuels in large numbers
- Rise in sea levels owing to steady changes in climate
These factors have led to the gradual disappearance of the southeastern Louisiana coastline into the Gulf of Mexico to the tune of 2, 000 square miles which is an alarming number by all means! The press and media have covered the development extensively and many individuals are steadily looking at unique ways and means to stem the tide. The catastrophe may not be far away according to experts and southeastern Louisiana keeps disappearing each day by a statistic equivalent to the size of an entire football field! The annual loss of 16 square miles each year is also dangerous for the species and wetlands thronging the area.
This impact is already being felt in multiple areas and the breaking up of local communities dependent on the coastline is already being observed. In addition, the southern Louisiana coastline is responsible for a majority of domestic wild seafood that is supplied across the country and its steady disappearance will hit this sector hard as well. The coastal belt is also home to an overwhelming majority of the oil refineries of the entire country through a complicated network of pipelines that take care of the entire energy supply system to the United States. The pipeline network is also responsible for production of 30 percent of the total gas and oil production activities in the United States.
The disappearance of the coastline was neglected by companies and public for many years but Hurricane Katrina did change things to some extent with regard to coastal restoration activities. This was initially envisioned as a plan spread over 50 years with $50 billion in costs. The fate of the plan is not known as of yet and the rise in sea levels over the next decades is what will actually determine the same. Scientists blame human activities as a major cause of the disruption of the once thriving ecosystem including the levees built by engineers which prevented the replenishment of the delta through the washing down of sediments. Oil and gas explorations during the 1920s also meant erosion of coastal beds and disruption of the ecosystem through the creation of a vast network of canals.
The appearance of Louisiana’s coastline in the future cannot be ascertained as of yet. The ambitious restoration plan has only received partial funding and implementation promises to be one uphill ride!