Cooperation is Key

The American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) celebrates America’s beaches annually by highlighting recently restored recreational coastal areas. The Caminada Headland’s beach restoration is one of the four winners of the ASBPA’s Best Restored Beach award, alongside South Padre Island in Texas, Waypoint Park Beach in Washington, and Duval County in Florida. [1] The Caminada Headland restoration project was spearheaded by our state partner, CPRA, and multiple CWPPRA projects preceeded it and work synergistically to  improve the entire Caminada barrier island system.

CPRA’s Caminada Headland Beach and Dune Restoration is a barrier island restoration project with two increments (BA-45 and BA-143) constructed in 2015 and 2017. Since the input of approximately 5.4 million cubic yards of sediment, the beach has improved habitat for shorebirds and plants. In addition to the direct benefits of the beach as a habitat, the healthy barrier island will better protect the marsh on the bay side as well as inland wetlands from storm surge and wave energy.

CWPPRA’s Caminada Headlands Back Barrier Marsh Creation increments 1&2 (BA-171, BA-193) is directly behind CPRA’s Caminada Headland Beach and Dune Restoration and greatly benefits from the project.  Together CPRA and CWPPRA have restored a complete barrier island, which would have been difficult and costly to do without partners. Our coast’s future depends on the cooperation of organizations and their projects. Louisiana’s land loss crisis is too large to tackle in one way or by one group, and successful collaboration leads to the best available science, innovative design, and systems-based approaches. CWPPRA and our state partners are working towards a common goal: a healthy coast for the future of our state.



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Louisiana Land Loss and Wetland Restoration at State of the Coast 2018

“We don’t have a day to waste”. — This was a main message heard from Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and others at The Fifth Biennial State of the Coast Conference (SOC) which took place in New Orleans on May 30th—June 1st 2018 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in the Warehouse / Arts District of New Orleans.

State of the Coast brought together people from 31 states and  several countries to look at the land loss crisis currently playing out in the northern Gulf of Mexico and what it means for the people with social, economic, and cultural ties to the area. With over 1000 attendees, oral and poster presentations, panel discussions, and a variety of exhibitors, State of the Coast was an opportunity to learn about restoration strategies; monitoring data; and efforts at local, state, and national levels to improve environmental, community, and economic resiliency [1].

Plenary speakers included Governor Edwards, New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell, CPRA Board Chairman Johnny Bradberry, Houston CRO Marvin Odum, and WWF’s Jason Clay. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy also made an appearance. Presenters included community planners, engineers, scientists, communicators, and students. Attendees could visit sessions as diverse as “Recent Studies on Subsidence in Coastal Louisiana” and “Vanishing by the Minute: What Land-loss and Development Mean for Louisiana’s Cultural Heritage”.

Just before the first plenary session.

Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) outreach staff were set up in the exhibit hall with information and materials for everyone who visited the booth. In addition to the most recent issues of WaterMarks, the Protect Our Coast poster series, and other publications, the CWPPRA booth debuted the new Coastwide Reference Monitoring System (CRMS) Fact Sheet, stickers, and magnets. Attendees could also use the #ProtectOurCoast photo booth to show their love for coastal wetlands. Other exhibitors included federal agencies like NRCS and private businesses like Industrial Fabric and Premier Concrete- both have a role to play in protecting and restoring the Gulf’s coast.

The urgency of the situation was a constant refrain at State of the Coast. To date Louisiana has lost land equal to the State of Delaware. At a panel discussion  for Restoration on the Half Shelf, Captain Ryan Lambert said, “it’s time we stop comparing land loss in Louisiana to the state of Delaware, that makes the problem seem small, it’s not small. — Louisiana has lost land almost the size of the Grand Canyon. That’s what people need to know”. Analyses show that coastal Louisiana has a net change in land area of approximately 1,866 square miles between 1932 and 2016 [2]. This land loss is comparable the size of the Grand Canyon National Park (1,902 square miles). Under the CPRA Coastal Master Plan 2017 Medium Scenario, an additional 2254 square miles could be lost over the next 50 years if no action is taken.

CPRA master plan med scenario map
Medium Scenario for Future Without Action in the 2017 CPRA Coastal Master Plan, courtesy of CPRA

The issues facing coastal Louisiana, and other coastlines around the world, are complex and urgent- State of the Coast 2018 provided an avenue for CWPPRA and others working for coastal restoration at environmental, economic, social, and cultural levels to share information, develop partnerships, and craft coordinated solutions to these challenges. Together, we can help create a more resilient coast.

Further Reading:

U.S. News: Louisiana’s State of the Coast Conference Gears Up

The Times Picayune, New Orleans: Louisiana’s moment for coastal restoration: Gov. Edwards

New Orleans Magazine: Our Dwindling Coast Land Loss in Louisiana


[1] Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. “State of the Coast Conference 2018 Program”. Available: [June 5 2018].

[2] Couvillion et al. 2017. “Land area change in coastal Louisiana (1932 to 2016)”.  Available: [June 4,2018].