Each year from 1998 to 2004, 59,000 acres of coastal wetlands were lost in the eastern United States, says a new report, "Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of the Eastern United States", from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. More than half of the U.S. population lives in coastal counties in densities five times greater than inland counties, says the report. The construction of roads and buildings has accelerated wetlands loss, particularly along the Gulf of Mexico. A case study from Florida illustrates the challenges of restoring coastal wetlands, which protect shorelines and infrastructure.