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Louisiana could lose 2,800 square miles of coastline over next 40 years

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The latest draft of Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan predicts as many as 2,800 square miles of coastal land loss over the next 40 years, even if all coastal strengthening projects move forward as planned, according to a Tuesday report from The Lens.

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has released its plan to prevent land loss in the bottom third of the state every five years since 2007, when Hurricane Katrina brought attention to the vital role wetlands play in storm protection.

The latest document, released Tuesday, is now out for the public's review, after which the Legislature must vote it up or down without making amendments. Legislators unanimously approved past plans in 2007 and 2012.

Some 27,000 structures along the coast will need to be flood-proofed, elevated or bought out under the plan's new best-case scenario for the state's coastal future, which estimates climate change may cause a 1.41-foot sea-level rise and a 10 percent increase in average storm intensity over the next half a century.

In a worst-case scenario, the state would lose 4,000 square miles of coastline if the state halts its efforts to restore and protect the wetlands. But the plan still maintains hope in projects that would restore 800 to 1,200 square miles of wetlands and strengthen protection against hurricane storm surges with new levees and flood walls.

Read the full article here.

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