BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Gov. John Bel Edwards joined officials from LSU, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and elected leaders to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the LSU Center for River Studies.
According to a Chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Chip Kline, Louisiana is losing a football field of land every 100 minutes due to erosion.
“Since the 1930s, the state of Louisiana has lost approximately 2,000 square miles of land,” says Kline, ‘To put that into perspective that’s approximately the size of Delaware.”
Louisiana Congressman Garret Graves has been a part of the state’s coastal project and stresses the importance of how losing this much land is affecting the state’s economy.
“This isn’t just land and habitat for birds and fish,” says Congressman Graves “This is truly communities across south Louisiana that are disappearing or threatened.”
According to Louisiana Governor, John Bel Edwards, “Louisiana is the world’s largest sediment project” when it comes to preventing climate change.
Elected leaders and LSU celebrated the five-year anniversary and a full reopening of the LSU River Studies Center since the COVID-19 pandemic shut it down. They also announced the approval of two, multi-billion dollar projects, the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Construction and The River Reintroduction into the Maurepas Swamp Project.
The River Studies Center is a 10,000-square-foot facility featuring tools and resources to research Louisiana Coastlines, potentially helping other countries with the challenges of erosion affecting their coastline.
Researchers, scientists, and engineers obtain a better understanding of sediment management in the lowermost Mississippi River through technology.
According to the executive director of a non-profit, Pontchartrain Conservancy, Kristie Trail, the two projects are much needed, “It will reinvigorate that swamp is there and it is alive and there are trees there, but it’s not really regenerating itself.”
Trail says with the new river reintroduction, the trees will continue to grow, serving as a potential buffer for storm surge.
Edwards believes that this facility and the students behind the research benefit our economy.
“We’ve helped open the eyes of thousands of young people to a problem,” says Edwards, “that they are going to turn around and help us solve.”