February 15, 2013

Did you know that our coastal and deltaic systems are key not only to our state’s financial success, but also our country’s? It’s true. Louisiana boasts 40 percent of the country’s wetlands, but 80 percent of the nation’s wetland loss. Our state is the top fisheries producer in the lower 48, but that same industry is facing a projected $37 billion loss by the year 2050 if coastal problems continue unchecked. We also have the world’s largest port system, produce more oil than anywhere else in the United States and contain the world’s most traveled waterway. All of this activity produces profit and creates and sustains much-needed jobs … but hinges on the health of a delicate ecosystem that truly needs – and deserves – expert attention.

LSU’s history of excellence in coastal studies, paired with its current initiative to increase research and impact on this jewel of the Gulf, is targeted to protect the cultural assets that come with living in such an exceptional place while also protecting our natural resources and ensuring the future of this great state.

LSU Coastal Facts:

  • More than 200 faculty members at LSU are currently involved in coastal-related research,  engaging in everything from preventing erosion, keeping our fish and seafood safe and clean, documenting Louisiana culture in fading cities and helping our coastal business community remain strong and active – and everything in between.
  • LSU has more than 450 coastal-related grants totaling $73 million. What does that really mean? It means that these dollars have been provided by federal and state funding agencies, industry and sometimes even private citizens to support scientific research, engineering surveys and other such studies necessary to develop a better approach to preserving our coast and enhancing its productivity. It means university researchers entered into a competitive process with faculty from across the nation and won the right to conduct this work because of their high-level of expertise. And it means that researchers at Louisiana’s flagship university are actively focused on one of the state’s leading concerns, leading the way toward real solutions for a very real problem. As a bonus, those research dollars also boost the state’s economy, adding related jobs, bringing expertise into the state and purchasing equipment from local businesses whenever possible.
  • LSU literally wrote the book on responding to the oil spill. University faculty were among the first to analyze the oil, gauge the mental health of citizens impacted by the Gulf closures and to detect biological changes in gill tissue of killifish. You can find out more about LSU’s Response to the Oil Spill at http://issuu.com/lsuored/docs/responding_to_the_flow_lsu.
  • LSU was designated the nation’s 13th Sea Grant College in 1978 and currently holds the highest performance rating possible by the National Sea Grant Review Panel. It manages and/or participates in more than 50 research, extension, education and communication projects across the coastal landscape and serves as a bridge between academic expertise and the needs of those who manage, conserve, enjoy and make their living on Louisiana’ coast.
  • According to a survey conducted by the Public Policy Research Lab, or PPRL, 90 percent of Louisianans believe that LSU’s coastal involvement and research is vital to the state.

Want to know more about LSU’s coastal activity? Visit www.lsu.edu/coast for details. While you’re there, consider sharing why the coast is important to you for a chance to be featured on the LSU website and in future promotions.


Article written by the Office of Research Communications. Click here for the original article.

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