Development gobbling up wetlands along Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico coasts

More than 354,000 acres of wetlands have been lost to development along the coasts of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico from 1998 to 2004, according to a U.S. government report released last week.

The report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a net loss of 59,000 acres a year during each of those six years.

While data is not available by state, Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Tamara Ward said the southeast region from the Carolinas to Florida lost about 10,000 acres of wetlands over the six-year period.

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