Summary and Conclusions
When European explorers first arrived in what is now south Louisiana in the late seventeenth century, the Mississippi delta was a vibrant, healthy, dynamic regional coastal ecosystem. Now however, the Mississippi delta is profoundly changed and unsustainable. Given the growing constraints imposed by climate change and resource scarcity and the projections for loss of most coastal wetlands even with the current proposed coastal master plan, it may be that a dramatically new approach will be required. The goal of this book was to provide a framework of what a new approach might look like. This chapter summarizes the book’s key findings. The authors concluded that restoration should focus on activities that are more sustainable over the long-term without large energy inputs, river diversions are an example of this. Other recommendations include a dramatic intervention involving raising parts of New Orleans, municipalities focusing on maximizing freshwater input to wetlands and controlling nutria populations, land-use planners prioritizing building structures 15 ft above sea level. Regardless of the approach, expensive, energy-intensive projects that are long lasting, more sustainable, and convey long-term benefits should be done as early as possible.
KeywordsMississippi delta Coastal restoration Climate change Land-use planning Wetland ecosystems
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