Louisiana’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan: Overview of a Science-Based and Publicly Informed Decision-Making Process

Peyronnin, N. et al., 2013. Journal of Coastal Research

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Abstract

Louisiana is in the midst of a land loss crisis that has claimed more than 4800 km(2) since the 1930s. Unless aggressive, large-scale action is taken, Louisiana could lose an additional 4500 km(2) in the next 50 years, resulting in a projected increase in annual damages from hurricane storm surge flooding of more than $23 billion. Louisiana’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan is a long-term plan with clear economic, social, and environmental benefits, such as decreasing potential damages from storm surge by $5.3 billion to $18 billion. Implementation of projects in the master plan should result in no net loss of land after 20 years and an annual net gain of land after 30 years. To develop the plan, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) utilized a state-of-the-art systems approach to coastal planning and a science-based decision-making process that resulted in a funding- and resource-constrained plan that makes the greatest progress toward achieving a sustainable coast. A series of integrated, coastwide predictive models were developed to provide data for a new planning tool used to identify the suite of projects that would make the greatest progress toward meeting the master plan objectives while considering uncertainties in future environmental conditions. Recognizing that the success of the plan hinges on stakeholder support, as well as science, the CPRA also implemented a comprehensive outreach plan to obtain input and feedback from key stakeholders and the public. The resulting plan recommends a specific list of restoration and protection projects and has achieved widespread support.

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