Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of the highly engineered and artificial Mississippi River deltaic ecosystem is lack of evidence that fish production has decreased. Louisiana accounts for ∼75% of the fishery landings in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and 60%–80% of the nation's
total annual coastal wetland loss, the human-caused reasons for which are well documented. Continued alteration, degradation, and loss of Louisiana's estuarine and wetland habitats makes knowledge of the relationship between habitat stability, and its effects on nursery-ground function and
fish production, critical. As a result of this issue in Louisiana and elsewhere, concepts of ecosystem management and sustainable development have become part of state, national, and international dialogue about adaptive environmental management. Formulation and implementation of long-term,
sustainable coastal policies and integrated management strategies demand a better understanding of (1) habitat and ecological stability and associated functional responses to both episodic and chronic insults, especially given the limited vitality of already-stressed coastal ecosystems, and
(2) the compounding and complex effects of multiple impacts superimposed on issues associated with shifting baselines and climate change.
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