The coastal crisis in Southern Louisiana is at a tipping point. We continue to lose a football field of wetlands every hour, or 16 square miles a year. If we fail to adequately address the problem, that rate could skyrocket to 51 square miles every year, jeopardizing our very way of life. Fortunately, Louisiana has released its draft 2012 Coastal Master Plan and it prioritizes a coastal lines of defense approach, including efforts to use the Mississippi River to build land, constructing oyster reefs, and creating marsh in land bridges. We are also happy to see that non-structural flood protection elevation of homes, flood-proofing, and helping people relocate, is given significant attention in the plan as well.The Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration is holding public hearings on the Coastal Master Plan this week and is encouraging citizens to learn more about the projects and get engaged. You can check out GRN’s initial commentary on the Master Plan below.The communities of Louisiana must speak up! The plan utilized focus groups from Fisheries, Oil and Gas, and Navigation, but it needs your input as well. We have seen the State revise coastal plans based on past hearings, so we know that our comments will be heard.Please come out to the Master Plan Exhibit and Public Hearing today, January 23rd at University of New Orleans: Lindy Boggs Conference Center Auditorium – 2045 Lakeshore Drive, New Orleans LALearn about project selection, flooding risks, how the Louisiana landscape is changing, and share your thoughts on protecting and restoring the coast.Exhibit 1:00 – 5:30 (open house, ask questions of state staff who helped develop the plan, look at exhibits, etc.)Public Hearing 5:30 – 7:30Tomorrow folks in Houma can add their thoughts, and Wednesday the road show will pull into Lake Charles. The schedule will be the same at each event.January 24, Houma, LA, Terrebonne Civic CenterJanuary 25, Lake Charles, LA, Lake Charles Civic CenterAaron Viles is GRN’s Deputy Director. You can follow him on twitter here.