– This was the year Louisiana started taking back our coast | Opinion

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Posted Dec 31, 2017

You hear it all the time: Louisiana’s coast is sinking and disappearing. Since the 1930s, 2,000 square miles of land have turned into open water. As seas rise, hurricanes strengthen and land sinks, maintaining a future for our nationally-significant coast looks increasingly daunting.

But challenges are meant to be met. And while it will be decades before we can judge if we truly met this one, there is a good chance we will look back at 2017 and see a pivot point.

A major step forward is Louisiana’s 2017 Coastal Master Plan, the innovative result of combined administrative and legislative action, strong public support and input, and sound science. The plan is the continuing blueprint for large-scale coastal restoration and protection efforts and aims to build and maintain as much land as possible into an uncertain future.

The suite of restoration projects laid out in the master plan includes marsh creation, barrier island restoration and sediment diversions. In particular, these sediment diversions use the most powerful resource at our disposal – the Mississippi River and its land-building sediment – to restore a functioning system and sustain land over time. To date, the state has made great progress in turning the plan into action: since 2007, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has restored 60 miles of barrier islands, constructed projects in 20 parishes and benefited more than 36,000 acres of coastal habitat.

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