by The Nature Conservancy
March 7, 2016
When most people think about Louisiana, certain images come to mind. Maybe it’s a crawfish boil or towering cypress trees. Or maybe it’s catching a redfish in huge coastal wetlands. All of these images have one thing in common – water. Louisiana has lots of it. In fact, our more than 125,000 miles of rivers, bayous, streams and large wetland systems are the foundation of Louisiana’s economy, culture, and rich biodiversity. Will it always be this way?
Despite the richness of these water resources, they are not limitless. As we’ve seen in neighboring states, like Texas, when water supply is threatened, it can have drastic consequences on the communities and natural systems that rely on it. And they come looking for more.
Is it possible for Louisiana to make sure it has enough water to support ourselves and also help our neighbors? To answer tough questions like this, Louisiana needs sustainable water planning that uses science to determine how much we have now and in the future to meet the needs of nature and people. Only then will we know of available surplus that could be provided to a neighboring state.
The Louisiana Freshwater Assessment is the result of The Nature Conservancy’s work with partners to provide comprehensive scientific information regarding the status and trends of freshwater supply in Louisiana and the connection of fresh water to coastal resources.
Once inside this site, you can use many tools to view and interact with this scientific information. For example, you can compare the status of your watershed or parish to neighboring watersheds or parishes anywhere in the state. Or you can draw your own area of interest and understand what’s happening around you.
For those interested in more in-depth information, we have tools that provide a wealth of information on the amount of water currently flowing down Louisiana’s bayous, rivers and streams and the potential effects of future changes in climate and water use on that water flow. Or you can operate a dam and see the effects of your decisions on the health of oyster reefs, which are located over 100 miles downstream.
TNC is using these tools to help Louisiana make sure it has enough water for the future. For example, we are partnering with scientists, engineers, and policy experts to use information on the timing and amount of available water in developing policies to ensure that there is enough water for Louisiana’s natural and human communities both upstream and at the coast.
These tools are available for all of us to improve our understanding of the challenges facing Louisiana’s water and to communicate the importance of having ample freshwater for the future. Start exploring Louisiana’s freshwater by launching the Louisiana Freshwater Assessment mapping portal or click the “Launch Mapping Portal” button at the top of the page to select a geography to explore.