Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost approximately 1,900 mi2 of land due to coastal erosion, land subsidence, and sea-level rise exacerbated by climate change, putting Native American archaeological sites along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast in danger of being destroyed. These cultural resources are crucial sources of information and represent the unique heritage of coastal Louisiana. Federal and State agency resource managers, coastal communities, and regional stakeholders would benefit from up-to-date science-based information on these endangered cultural resources and on climate-informed management options.
In partnership with the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, a team of University archaeologists, climate scientists, geologists, and engineers, and the National Park Service, this research project will assess climate change vulnerabilities of these important archaeological sites and help to plan for the impending loss of these irreplaceable cultural resources. This interdisciplinary team will work with tribal and coastal communities in cultural resource management planning and advise resource managers and stakeholders on where and how to direct limited resources.
This collaborative research effort will produce a climate-informed cultural resource management plan with alternative mitigation strategies and recommendations for addressing predicted impacts on the future of Louisiana’s imperiled coast. This will be accomplished through (1) an overview of the existing archaeological and geology literature on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, (2) identification of knowledge gaps, and (3) assessment of the future effects of climate change on the area’s cultural resources. Consultations, workshops, and webinars will facilitate collaborative exchanges of information and perspectives on site prioritization, decision making, and strategies for alternative mitigation of climate impacts. The results of this project will also serve as a model for coastal resource management planning in other coastal environments affected by climate change, sea-level rise, and land loss.
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“Southeast Louisiana coastal marsh”