New Poll Shows Majority of Louisianians View Coastal Land Loss as a “Crisis”

Majority say coastal wetlands are important to them personally, support the state’s Coastal Master Plan

January 11, 2017
Contact: 
Elizabeth Van Cleve, (202) 572-3382, evancleve@edf.org

Statewide, 93 percent of Louisiana voters say that protecting Louisiana’s coastal wetlands needs attention with 56 percent calling this issue a “crisis,” according to a new poll released today. Additionally, an overwhelming 95 percent of Louisiana voters say Louisiana’s coastal areas and wetlands are important to them personally, with 73 percent saying they are “very important.”

A substantial majority (62 percent) favor Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan – the state’s blueprint for prioritizing large-scale coastal restoration and protection projects – while only 6 percent oppose it. Thirty-two percent either didn’t know or wouldn’t say. When asked about reasons why we should restore coastal Louisiana, 91 percent of voters statewide responded that it was “very important” to them personally to protect cities and communities against hurricane storm surge flooding.

“Unlike many other issues, our citizens are in broad agreement about the coast. We need to save as much as we can of the Louisiana that we know and love,” said Steve Cochran, campaign director for Restore the Mississippi River Delta, a coalition of local and national conservation organizations advocating for coastal restoration. “Elected officials and state leaders have an opportunity like never before to come together and get things done for the people, wildlife and jobs that depend on a healthy, sustainable coast.”

The poll, conducted in December 2016 by Baton Rouge-based Applied Technology Research Corporation and commissioned by Restore the Mississippi River Delta, comes out as Louisianians are reviewing the state’s recently released 2017 Draft Coastal Master Plan. The plan recommends a variety of projects to build land and reduce flood risk throughout coastal Louisiana. Over the coming weeks, the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority will host public meetings in cities across the coast to raise awareness and solicit feedback on the draft plan, which is legally required to be updated every five years to account for the best available science.

“For the first time in our state’s history, Louisiana has the science, restoration funding, and overwhelming public support to get major coastal restoration projects on the ground quickly,” Steve continued. “Louisianians are in agreement that our coast is vital and that its disappearance is a crisis of unprecedented proportions. People care about the coast, and they care about being protected from storms and flooding, which we can only do by advancing coastal restoration.”

About the poll: The poll was conducted by Applied Technology Research Corporation and commissioned by Restore the Mississippi River Delta. Interviews for this statewide poll were completed by telephone with 500 likely Louisiana voters from December 12 through December 15, 2016. The overall sample error for the statewide statistics is not greater than 4.4 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence.

# # #

Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook. 

Restore the Mississippi River Delta is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces an ongoing and severe land loss crisis, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at www.mississippiriverdelta.org