Losing Ground

Louisiana's coastline is disappearing. Will $50 billion and a new restoration process be enough to save it?

December 08, 2014

"Southeastern Louisiana might best be described as a layer cake made of Jell-O, floating in a swirling Jacuzzi of steadily warming, rising water. Scientists and engineers must prevent the Jell-O from melting—while having no access to the Jacuzzi controls. The problem is manmade. Over the last 80 years, Louisiana’s coast has been starved of sediment by river levees and eviscerated by canals dredged for oil and gas extraction. Now, southeastern Louisiana is sinking at one of the fastest rates on the planet the Gulf is rising. Already, 2,000 square miles have sloughed into the Gulf. Without action, the state could lose another 1,750 squares miles over the next 50 years."

—From “Louisiana’s Moon Shot,” a The Lens/ProPublica investigation into the state’s effort to replicate the Mississippi River delta’s natural land-building process


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