Mississippi River
Delta Region
Global Warming
City History


Economic Importance of Wetlands
Written by Leigh Casadaban

Commercial fish landings in Louisiana hold third in economic value and produce the second most biomass in the continental United States, ranked just behind Alaska.  Between 1983 and 1995, wetland fisheries contributed almost 20% of the nation’s commercial harvest, making it a nationally recognized source.  In 1990 alone, the seafood industry was valued at $3.6 billion. The wetland fisheries are known for shrimp, blue crabs, oysters, and menhaden, which represents 70% of the commercial value (LaCoast, Factoids About Louisiana’s Coastal Wetlands).

Oil and Gas Production

Louisiana’s wetlands are the hardest working in America.  What’s made up of bayous, marshes and barrier islands supply and traffic a third of the nations oil and a fourth of its natural gas.  From 1917 to 1940, around 1291 oil wells were drilled over 60 oil fields in coastal Louisiana.  By 1994, 523 oil fields were discovered with 23,477 wells.  In total, 150 million barrels of oil and 130 million cubic feet of gas has been extracted from southern Louisiana, mainly in coastal wetland areas and run through 169 major pipeline corridors run through the coast. The industry provided 13,384 jobs through the OCS in 1992; 81% were residents of Louisiana.  Besides oil and gas production, the area oversees more than 60% of U.S. imports (LaCoast, Factoids About Louisiana’s Coastal Wetlands).

Recreational Value

Louisiana’s wetlands offer activities such as sport fishing, sport hunting, eco-tourism, and cultural significance surrounding lifestyle, good food, and culture.  More than 1.4 million people participate in boating, skiing, swimming, hiking, bird watching, photography and painting (LaCoast, Factoids About Louisiana’s Coastal Wetlands).