These six shocking aerial views of Louisiana land loss tell the true story, and the truth is a tough pill to swallow.
Louisiana's wetlands are a national treasure. They yield amazing catches of crab, shrimp and oysters. For the bird enthusiasts, Louisiana is home to a multitude of birds who stay year round or simply use her wetlands as a resting point in their migration.
Our wetlands were built over eons by the Mississippi River.
She can be unruly and violent when her waters rise, so we came up with methods to keep her from threatening communities. One of those methods was to build levees to prevent her from flooding homes and businesses.
This cut her off from the marsh she used to build, an unintended consequence that causes Louisiana land loss.
Ever since then Louisiana's wetlands, especially her fresh and saltwater marshes, have been slowly dying.
Erosion is natural, but so is having that eroded land replaced.
With every turn of the tide a little more land is lost and the surges of powerful hurricanes accelerate this loss even further.
It is normal to have the Mississippi River build an estuary then abandon it and let it erode. But at the same time she would be building another one. She can't do that today by the way we have altered her.
Here are Six Shocking Aerial Views of Louisiana Land Loss
The Mouth of Bayou Biloxi
Bayou Biloxi is the main artery of the Biloxi Marsh, located in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Once upon a time Bayou Biloxi emptied through its mouth in Lake Borgne.
Today, that mouth is gone due to Louisiana land loss and she is beginning to flow through what used to be her shoreline.
How she flows into Lake Borgne has been forever changed and will continue to change as there is more Louisiana land loss.
Raccourci Bayou in Dularge
Raccourci Bayou is an important passage way for boat traffic in Dularge, connecting Lake Mechant and Raccourci Bay. As you can imagine, a lot of water flows through here.
Without fresh sediment deposits to deter Louisiana land loss of this pass, increased water flow from storm surge has eroded away the inside of the bayou.
Take note of the fishing camps located inside the bends of the bayou, then look at the screenshot below and see how those same camps are now surrounded by water.
If it weren't for the pilings they were built on they would be completely lost to Louisiana land loss.
Delacroix in Plaquemines Parish
Delacroix is world renown for its incredible inshore fishing and is arguably the redfish capital of the world, often sharing that title with other regions in Louisiana.
Delacroix has been victim to a freshwater diversion at Caernarvon designed to regulate salinity levels for oyster production.
The freshwater from the diversion weakened the root systems of existing marsh and made it easily destroyed by subsequent hurricanes, causing more Louisiana land loss.
Compare the satellite image from 1989 to the newer one in 2016. It is almost sickening to see how much Louisiana land loss has created open water.
Couba Island near Westwego
All of Louisiana is gorgeous, but if you haven't been to this area during the springtime then you are truly missing out.
The island, freshwater marsh and cypress swamps to the north are astoundingly beautiful.
Couba Island is another part of Louisiana's wetlands that is populated with fishing camps.
Unfortunately, like in Dularge, these camps have suffered at the hands of Louisiana land loss.
Deadman Island near Hopedale
I have heard this island earned it's namesake for its use by pirates who frequented the Louisiana coast.
Long ago, most likely when the island was much larger, unruly deckhands were drummed off the ship and left on this island to die, hence "Deadman" Island.
Surely the island has declined significantly since the heyday of wind-powered vessels, but it has certainly eroded very much in the relatively small amount of time between 1989 and 2015.
More Louisiana Land Loss: Hewes Point in Chandeleur Islands
The Chandeleur Islands belong to the outermost barrier islands on the eastern coastal plain of Louisiana.
They are home to our nation's second oldest national wildlife refuge and serve as a gateway between our inshore marshes and offshore waters.
The north end of the Chandeleur, called Hewes Point, was home to a 100+ year old lighthouse that was lost in Hurricane Katrina.
Today, Hewes Point is virtually gone due to Louisiana land loss.
This barrier island is our first line of defense against hurricanes. But because of Louisiana land loss there is next to nothing to slow storm surge dozens of miles ahead of our homes and businesses. Without them we will see heightened flood levels, even worse than what they are now.