Throughout the Gulf States, and the entire United States, we have been losing wetlands at an alarming rate. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service estimates that over half of the wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico were lost between 1780 and 1980. An estimated 396,800 acres of freshwater wetlands were lost between 1998 and 2004 in the Gulf of Mexico. For comparison, this rate of loss was 6 times higher than the rate of freshwater wetlands losses in the coastal watersheds of the U.S. Atlantic Coast. The estimated wetland losses for all wetland types in the Gulf of Mexico were almost 25 times higher than those estimates for the Atlantic (371,000 acres versus 15,000 acres lost).
This rampant wetland loss is due to many reasons, most of which are caused or exacerbated by human influence. Some of the causes of wetland loss include:
- Construction and Development
- Salt water intrusion
- Oil and Gas Canals
- Sea level rise
- Hurricanes and other storms
With the intimate relationship that the Gulf Coast community has with wetlands, we must protect all that we have, and actively restore the wetlands that are in peril. GRN advocates for the protection of our wetlands through
- participating in post-hurricane rebuilding processes,
- monitoring wetland destruction permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
- preventing the clear-cutting of coastal forests, and
- watch-dogging state and federal agencies.
1Dahl, T.E. 2005. Status and trends of wetlands in the conterminous United States 1998 to 2004. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C. www.fws.gov/nwi