Louisiana Conservation Updates Newsletter - March 2020

Naveen Adusumilli, Wang, Hua

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Comprehensive Climate and Agriculture Legislation

Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA) was introduced to address climate change affecting agriculture. One of the overarching goals of the act was to achieve net-zero emissions from U.S. agriculture by 2040. The programs within the ARA are divided into six titles. The titles and the goals are –

  • soil health- retaining cover on 75% of cropland acres
  • farmland preservation-preventing conversion of farmland and grassland to non-agricultural activities
  • pasture-based livestock – integrating cop-livestock by 100%
  • on-farm renewable energy – tripling renewable energy production
  • food waste – reduce by 75 percent
  • agricultural research – increase funding for ag research

Examining Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Trends

The largest working lands federal conservation program, CSP, plays a critical role in supporting conservation efforts across the nation. A recent national report shows a significant state to state variability in enrolled acres. CSP acres in 2018 represent about 22 percent of total farmland in each of the three delta states.

EPA Grant Will Help Reduce Nutrient Pollution in Louisiana and Arkansas

Louisiana DEQ received $100,000 to support work to reduce nutrient losses from Mississippi and Atchafalaya river basin watersheds into the Gulf of Mexico. The activities include monitoring and analysis and expand monitoring locations in Barataria bay.

USDA will invest $2.3 million in Arkansas in the current fiscal year to improve water quality, forest health, wildlife habitat, and promote environmental education. The priority watersheds for improving water quality will cover more than 5 million acres.

Value of production - LA report

Various factors contributed to a drop in the total value of production. The situation is not unique to Louisiana. Planting delays, lower market prices, trade issues, among others, resulted in lower overall production. Total value for rice and soybeans decreased from 2018, whereas corn and cotton increased slightly during the same period.


Louisiana's wet climate poses some challenges. Para-plow is an example of a low disturbance tillage implement to break subsurface compaction layers and allow fields to drain adequately. The implement can loosen compacted soil layers 12-16 inches deep but can also maintain high surface residue levels.

Community Resilience is Key to Recovery

Communities are vulnerable to flood risk for a variety of reasons. Many economic and social factors make the impacts of flood risk more severe and harder to recover. Those characteristics may contribute to a community’s ability to prepare for, respond to, cope with, recover from, and adapt to environmental events. The map in the attachment shows the level of social vulnerability among communities that depend on natural resources.

Coastal Restoration and Conservation

Coastal restoration is an effort to create new or repair, replicate, and protect existing wetlands that have been degraded, damaged, or destroyed over time. Restoration projects are grouped as vegetative, structural, and hydrologic projects. The 2017 Coastal Master Plan restoration projects utilize all methods to build and sustain the coastal land. According to CPRA, the state estimates to build or sustain 802 square miles of land and reduce flood damage by $150 billion over the next 50 years. Because without no action, the below map shows the amount of land loss on Louisiana coasts 50-years from now. There are currently 66 projects that are at various levels of completion restoring 526,000 acres of coastal wetlands in Louisiana.

Coastal Programs

Louisiana coastal restoration projects are authorized and funded through a variety of programs, each of which has different requirements, parameters, and processes of implementation. A list of coastal programs include

  • Coastal Wetland Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA)
  • Berm to Barrier
  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
  • Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP)
  • Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS)
  • Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)
  • Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Restoration
  • State-Only Projects
  • Non-State Projects

Questions and comments:

Dr. Naveen Adusumilli; 225-578-2727; nadusumilli@agcenter.lsu.edu; Dr. Hua Wang; hwang23@lsu.edu; Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness.

3/23/2020 5:22:38 PM
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