Jeremy Alford

Is the coastal zone outdated?

by Jeremy Alford

The state has launched a science-based study on the inland boundary of the state’s coastal zone to determine whether the lines drawn up 30 years ago are still viable. The state Department of Natural Resources is overseeing the initiative and the results should be ready by February.

In the recent regular session, officials from Ascension lobbied to have the parish included in the current 19-parish Coastal Zone because it experiences severe flooding problems throughout the year. Lawmakers, fearful that the present parishes could suffer a loss of resources from having to share them with another, voted the proposal down.

The Coastal Zone Management Program was enacted by the federal government in 1972 and Louisiana created its own version six years later. The original plans called for Ascension to be included, but officials at the time opted out.

DNR Secretary Scott Angelle says much has changed in Louisiana since then and the study couldn’t be timelier. “Ongoing erosion and hurricanes have changed the physical makeup of our coast, and new programs, new science and ever-increasing interest have changed the way we approach protecting it,” he says. “It is very appropriate that we take a fresh look at the boundary of our coastal zone to ensure we are managing our resources in the most effective way.”