Investigation of Causal Mechanisms of Coastal Wetland Change in Coastal Louisiana

Science Center Objects

This task will involve the compilation of all data sources and expert knowledge of causal mechanisms of specific areas of wetland loss throughout the coastal zone of Louisiana.

Example from USGS OFR-418 of Penland et al. 2001.

Example from USGS OFR-418 of Penland et al. 2001.

The Science Issue and Relevance: Previous research has shown that coastal Louisiana has undergone a net loss of wetland area of approximately 1,883 square miles between 1932 and 2010. This net change in land area amounts to a decrease of about 25 percent of the 1932 land area. While the rates and occurrence of wetland change has been extensively studied, far less is known about the causes for that change. One of the only studies to investigate the issue over a large landscape has not been updated since 1992. The goal of this study is to categorize the wetland changes which have occurred from 1932-2015 into the causal mechanisms for those changes, including natural and anthropogenic factors. This work is relevant to the USGS Ecosystems Mission area as it directly relates to four of their five science strategies.

Methodology for Addressing the Issue: This task will involve the compilation of all data sources and expert knowledge of causal mechanisms of specific areas of wetland loss throughout the coastal zone of Louisiana.

Future Steps: This study will comprise a multi-year analysis, and as such, efforts in the first year of analysis will focus on data compilation. Out-years will focus on modeling historical parameters to assess the impact of each on coastal wetland losses.

Location of the Study: Throughout the Louisiana coastal zone, Latitude: 29.678°, Longitude: -91.552°