Regarding your recent editorial, “Our Views: Oil, gas production key to Louisiana’s economic health, but it’s not doing well”:

Although some job markets in our state are shrinking, one industry is steadily increasing and providing well-paying jobs.

According to recent analysis based on research by The Data Center, the water management sector, which includes coastal restoration, coastal protection and urban water management, is now the jobs leader in southeast Louisiana, eclipsing oil and gas, maritime and other major industries. Across the entire coastal zone, this industry is the second-largest jobs creator, with nearly 44,000 jobs in 2015.

This industry also is the fastest-growing in the coastal zone, generating more than 9,400 new jobs over the past five years along Louisiana’s coast.

Assuming effective implementation of our state’s Coastal Master Plan, all signs are that this job growth will continue as Louisiana is poised to receive nearly a half-billion dollars per year over the next 15 years from the BP settlement — money that is intended for and dedicated to coastal restoration efforts. And by the way, this sector offers some of the highest-paying jobs of any major sector, averaging $69,277 per year. That’s a pretty good start on rebuilding the tax base in Louisiana.

We are at a pivotal moment in our state’s history. As billions of dollars flow into our state for coastal restoration and protection over the next 15 years, keeping these dollars where they belong — supporting coastal restoration and protection — will create jobs and grow our economy. Doing that will restore our coast and protect our future. Let’s continue to make these smart investments as fast as we can.

Steve Cochran

campaign director, Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, associate vice president for coastal protection, Environmental Defense Fund

New Orleans