Nyman, J.A.; Baltz, D.M.; Kaller, M.D.; Leberg, P.L.; Parsons Richards, C.; Romaire, R.P., and Soniat, T.M., 2013. Likely changes in habitat quality for fish and wildlife in coastal Louisiana during the next fifty years.
Louisiana's 2012 Master Plan for a sustainable coast was designed to minimize economic damage from storm surges and to maximize wetland habitat for fish and wildlife. Selecting projects for inclusion in the master plan depended partly on models that simulated the effects of management options on environmental factors that control habitat quality for fish and wildlife. We used 13 models to predict the effects of the master plan on habitat quality for fish and wildlife in coastal Louisiana. Habitat quality was predicted to change more for the Neotropical songbirds and seven other modeled species losing habitat quality with the status quo (−37%) than it was predicted to increase for five modeled species gaining habitat quality with the status quo (+18%). The master plan was predicted to slow or negate all changes associated with the status quo. All of the modeled fish and wildlife belong to people of the state of Louisiana, people living in countries bordering the Gulf of Mexico, and to people throughout the Americas. Thus, declining fish and wildlife habitat quality in Louisiana probably will cause market and nonmarket losses, which although concentrated in Louisiana, will extend across the Americas. As funding for Louisiana's master plan is pursued, it is important to consider that almost all of the causes for net wetland losses in Louisiana are external to the owners of these wetlands but that the fish and wildlife that use these wetlands belong to and benefit people throughout the Americas.