Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Michael F. Burnett


In an effort to learn more about coastal landwners' perceptions related to wetland regulatory policy, descriptive study was conducted using a mailed survey design. Coastal wetland landowners' perceptions in three Louisiana coastal parishes (Cameron, Terrebonne, and St. Bernard) were assessed and comparisons were made by parish and by land size group (small and large). The overall response rate for the study was approximately 60% (n = 209). Study conclusions included the following: (1) The federal Section 404 wetland permitting program and the state Coastal Use Permitting program are perceived as less than adequate. (2) State assumption of federal wetland permitting is generally supported. (3) SCS (NRCS) is perceived to be the federal agency most receptive toward private landowners' goals and objectives, and the agency that should be responsible for making wetland determinations and wetland permitting. (4) Tax-breaks and direct coastal restoration funding are favored over outright government purchase of wetlands. (5) Little or no income is earned from the surface of coastal wetlands. (6) Coastal landowners plan to maintain ownership of their wetland in the future. (7) The overall quality of coastal wetlands are perceived to be somewhat poor. (8) Current wetland regulatory policy in the U.S. is perceived to be approaching a "takings" under the 5th Amendment of the Constitution. (9) The two most important issues facing coastal landowners are (1) private property rights and (2) coastal erosion. Based on the findings outlined above, the following recommendations were made by the researcher: (1) Federal and state wetland regulatory agencies should address the less than adequate perceptions held by coastal landowners. (2) The federal Section 404 wetland permitting program should be assumed by the state of Louisiana. (3) NRCS should be designated as the primary federal agency responsible for making wetland determinations. (4) Landowner government assistance programs should focus on providing (1) tax breaks and (2) direct wetland restoration funding. (5) An increased educational focus should be directed toward the implementation of non-consumptive tourism-related enterprises. (6) Coastal parishes should consider revenue raising options that are not directly linked to surface wetland uses. (7) Wetland policy should address property rights concerns and coastal erosion.