VENICE, La. – Louisiana is growing. The state is adding miles of new land to slow strong storms.
Over the past few decades, Louisiana has lost miles of coastline, making communities vulnerable to storms.
This newest line of defense basically serves the function of “slowing down” when storms start from the Gulf of Mexico.
“Louisiana is facing the problem of land loss, which is really an existential crisis off the coast of Louisiana,” said Bren Haase, executive director of the Coast Guard and Restoration Administration. “Without the swampy lands along that coast, without this protection, our community will bear the brunt of any storm approaching the coast.”
The state is currently bringing in enough sand to fill 2.5 football stadiums to build 7 million acres of land and a swampy ridge near Venice.
“We’re really in the latest phase of adapting to climate change,” Haase said. “We know our shores are sinking and sea levels are also rising, so using the methods we use … can really be an example to others across the country.”
The project will not only protect coastal communities, but also help support wildlife. The area is famous for its amazing fishing, shrimp and duck hunting.
“The previously protected swamp has only gotten worse,” said fisherman Vernon Dutton. “Many areas that used to be swamps, ideal for fishing for red fish and trout, have now become open water.”
Fishermen hope to revitalize the new swamp habitat.
“This is the largest project to rehabilitate the swamps and ridges we have built so far,” Haase said.
The $ 100 million project is being funded by funds from the 2010 BP oil disaster relief. This is part of the state’s $ 50 billion 50-year effort to strengthen the state against storms.
The 20-year-old ridge is expected to be completed in September.