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Westernmost, low-lying region of Louisiana coast on track to drown under sea-level rise

Without major efforts to rebuild Louisiana's wetlands, which serve as bulwarks against waves and rising seas, the state's coast has little chance of withstanding the accelerating rate of sea-level rise, a new study concludes. Results of this research, funded by the National Science Foundation and conducted by researchers at Tulane University, show the rate of sea level rise in the region over the past six to 10 years amounting to half an inch per year, on average. Wetlands can provide crucial protection from rising seas, especially in Louisiana's low-lying westernmost areas, but the habitats have faced years of decline, mostly from coastal erosion. The erosion results in part from levees that have been built along the Mississippi River. The levees block mud deposits that flow to and underlie much of the Louisiana coast. The land, cut off from new building material, begins to sink.

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