Using the latest scientific results of barrier island and wetland studies can help address problems in Louisiana and other coastal regions. Saving wetlands In Louisiana and elsewhere, wetlands are disappearing, threatening plant and animal life. This fishery brings in nearly $3 billion annually and is the top producer of oysters, blue crabs, and crawfish. However, in the lifetime of a child born today, approximately 800,000 acres of Louisiana wetlands will be lost, moving the coastline inland by 33 miles in some areas. Plants and Animals in the Louisiana Wetlands (Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images ). Louisiana's wetlands also act as a natural filter, cleaning the water that passes through it. Here at Stan’s Airboat and Marsh Excavator Service, we’re proud to say we know our way around the bayou. Endangered brown pelicans, which are rebounding since being almost wiped out by DDT, also take advantage of the plentiful fish. Facts about Louisiana. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, combine with man-made hazards like levees, dredging and pollution to threaten the well-being of Louisiana's wetlands, which are home to dozens of plant and animal species. Swampland is the most common type of wetland biome you will find. 4. The State's wetlands extend as much as 130 kilometers inland and along the coast for about 300 kilometers. Large data sets on topics such as storm effects, movement of water and dispersal of fine-grained sediments, soil development, marsh disintegration, and effects of land subsidence and sea-level rise have been systematically collected since 1989 from representative sediment-starved and sediment-rich basins in Louisiana. Not all the wetlands are receding; in fact some wetlands are stable, and others are growing. The wetlands and estuaries of Louisiana's Gulf Coast also provide habitat for many species of fish and invertebrates. New Orleans has a lot of history: the St. Charles Avenue streetcar in New Orleans is the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world. Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Department of the Interior, Coastal Research Laboratory University of New Orleans, Louisiana State UniversityBaton Rouge, Louisiana, Coastal and Marine Geology Program > Louisiana Coastal Wetlands: A Resource At Risk, Subsidence and Sea-Level Rise in Southeastern Louisiana: Implications for Coastal Management and Restoration, Subsidence and Fault Activation Related to Fluid Energy Production, Gulf Coast Basin Project, Geologic Framework and Processes of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin, Subsurface Controls on Historical Subsidence Rates and Associated Wetland Loss in Southcentral Louisiana, Primary Causes of Wetland Loss at Madison Bay, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana - USGS Open File Report 03-060, Environmental Atlas of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin - USGS Open File Report 02-206, "The swamps and marshes of coastal Louisiana are among the Nation's most fragile and valuable wetlands, vital not only to recreational and agricultural interests but also the State's more than $1 billion per year seafood industry. Trent Jonas accepted his first assignment in 1988 from "The Minnesota Daily" and has been writing professionally ever since, primarily as a copywriter. The Louisiana wetlands are home to thousands of species of animals and marine life. For centuries, native tribes, immigrants and ancient creatures have coexisted in these vast wetlands. Still, the most dramatic change these wetlands are undergoing is the inundation of saltwater and the loss of land. The plants that thrive in the waterlogged environment of the Louisiana Wetlands are known as hydrophytics. 6 Critical to these species are Louisiana’s coastal marshes, which play a vital and complex role in the life cycle of at least 90% of Gulf marine life. CWPPRA provides funding for Louisiana’s coastal restoration. It is estimated that between 25-35 square miles of wetlands are lost each year and more than 1,000,000 acres have been lost since the turn of the century. Quick View Description of State’s Wetlands . Louisiana’s bayous are home to some of the most unique ecosystems and societies on the planet. Reeds, which are common to marshes, transport oxygen through hollow tubes; and water lilies float on the water's surface, exposed to air. Some examples include the cattail in freshwater wetlands and mangrove species in coastal wetlands. Louisiana's wetlands comprise a fragile ecosystem that covers more than 10,000 square miles. The wetlands of Louisiana are water-saturated coastal and swamp regions of southern Louisiana. Below are the 10 facts about wetlands that will totally surprise you. ", Over the past 150 years, the Isles Dernieres have undergone very rapid erosion and land loss due primarily to natural processes of relative sea-level rise, storms, and sand loss by coastal currents. Over the last 200 years, wetlands in the United States have been drained, dredged, filled, leveled and flooded for urban, agricultural, and residential development (Mitsch and Gosselink 1993). In fact, in many areas they consider it to be a nuisance. Protections are a cheap and easy gift after learning about the many presents that wetlands provide all of us throughout the country. Palustrine wetlands, which include swamps, scrub-shrub, wetlands, nontidal and tidal fresh marshes, and ponds, are the most common wetlands in Louisiana. The state's seafood and fishing industries depend on the continued health of the wetlands. Louisiana provides more fishery landings than any other state in the conterminous United States (more than 1.1 billion pounds/year), and more than 75 percent of Louisiana’s commercially harvested fish and shellfish species are dependent on wetlands. The root system of a cypress tree, known as cypress knees, will help with sediment deposits in our wetlands and slow down tidal surges during storms. In 1988, USGS scientists began a study of wetland processes in cooperation with the U.S. Coastal wetlands disappearing. In fact, some say an area the size of a tennis court disappears every thirteen seconds. Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost close to 2,000 square miles of wetlands, an area roughly the size of Delaware. These six facts about wildlife and wetlands will hopefully reinvigorate passion for the habitat that provides us with so many benefits. Photo Credit: National Park Service . Louisiana has been losing coastal wetlands since at least the 1930s, but the long-term rate of land loss has slowed since its peak in the 1970s, and U.S. Geological Survey scientists have recently found a further slowing since 2010. Louisiana State Wetland Program Summary . Jonas has a Bachelor of Arts in English writing from the University of Minnesota and a Juris Doctor from Hamline University. A variety of coordinated studies, such as sediment budget, storm events, wave action, and sea-level fluctuations, are showing how nature intended the barrier island/wetland system to work, and can guide planners to augment the natural evolution of this system rather than operate contrary to nature. Synthesis and comparisons of these data sets enhance our knowledge of how wetlands function and the critical processes responsible for change. Louisiana's wetlands comprise a fragile ecosystem that covers more than 10,000 square miles. Because of these activities, 22 states have lost 50% or more of their original wetlands. Louisiana State Capitol Building is the tallest state capital in the United States. Since the early 1930s, it is estimated that Louisiana has lost almost 5,000 square kilometers of wetlands. Fact #1: World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2. Today, there are more than 2,000 wetlands, covering 476,000 acres, designated as Wetlands of International Importance. Some of America's tallest birds, such as the great blue heron and great egret, cannot resist the fishing opportunities that exist in the Louisiana wetlands. Perhaps the most iconic of Louisiana Wetlands' animals, the American alligator has bounced back from near extinction to being relatively commonplace. Flora in flooded swamps and marshes are unable to do so. On average, Louisiana is only 100 feet above sea level.3,4 In addition to crude oil and … Saving Our Wetlands Cypress Tree Restoration Program. A bayou, like this one in Louisiana, serves as a home for many species, ranging from bald cypress trees to a host of wetland-dependent animals, including … The swamps, marshes and bayous that extend 30 … Louisiana’s coastal habitat is also the state’s first line of defense during storms, reducing the devastating effects of wind, waves, and flooding. People travel from all over to catch a glimpse of our beautiful wetlands, and we’ve got some amazing photos of our swamps and bayous that will make you proud to live in the Bayou State. Examples include the cypress tree, which has "knees," where its roots bend to reach above high water levels. Soil testing will be the only activity allowed in wetlands … Present data collection activities are being included in models that simulate natural processes for future diversions of the Mississippi River, sea-level rise, subsidence of coastal areas, and beach nourishment. The Louisiana Wetlands host a variety of common mammal species, such as the coyote, muskrat, Norway rat and red fox. The staggering annual losses of wetlands in Louisiana are caused by human activity as well as natural processes. About 75% of the sites added to the list since 1999 were included as a result of WWF’s work. Voice of the Wetlands was established in 2004 as a volunteer-based non-profit, focused on driving awareness about the loss of the wetlands in southern Louisiana. The state rises gradually from the marshes, bayous, and estuaries along its extensive Gulf of Mexico coastline to the prairie in the state's north and west. The combined effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was the destruction of an estimated 562 square kilometers (217 sq mi) of coastal wetlands in Louisiana. It is 450 feet tall and has 34 stories. History of Wetland Loss. Louisiana’s wetlands provide habitat for more than five million wintering waterfowl annually. The green anole lizard also lives in the wetlands, along with the lizard-like tiger salamander, which is an amphibian. The building was inaugurated on May 16, 1931. These species share the habitat with large mammals like the black bear, bobcat and eastern cougar. The wetland isabout 160 … Up to 1/2 of North American bird species nest or feed in wetlands. He is an experienced traveler with a background in advertising, entrepreneurship and as an attorney. Plants that grow in soil absorb oxygen through their roots and transport it throughout their structure. Louisiana’s wetlands hold a special place in our hearts. But today, because of canals and levees that constrict and confine the path of the river, the sediment cannot reach the delta to replenish the eroding wetlands. In Louisiana, marshes and swamps make up most of our wetlands. Louisiana has lost about a third of its 3.2 million acres of wetlands since 1930, but the state is working hard to turn the tide. In general, human attempts to engineer coastal areas have had limited success. Many of the world’s wetlands are degraded. The threats to wetlands continue as many of the wetlands are still being drained, destroyed and replaced with agricultural fields, commercial and residential urban developments. One of the birds that call wetlands home is the bald eagle. Subsidence and Sea-Level Rise in Southeastern Louisiana: Implications for Coastal Management and Restoration USGS Coastal & Marine Geology Program, Subsidence and Fault Activation Related to Fluid Energy Production, Gulf Coast Basin Project USGS Coastal & Marine Geology Program, Geologic Framework and Processes of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin USGS Coastal & Marine Geology Program, Subsurface Controls on Historical Subsidence Rates and Associated Wetland Loss in Southcentral Louisiana Originally published in Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions, Primary Causes of Wetland Loss at Madison Bay, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana - USGS Open File Report 03-060 USGS Coastal & Marine Geology Program, Environmental Atlas of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin - USGS Open File Report 02-206 USGS Coastal & Marine Geology Program, U.S. We still need to reemphasize the lesson from Francis Bacon almost four centuries ago: "Nature to be commanded must be obeyed." Several snake species, including corn snakes, venomous Western cottonmouth pit vipers and speckled king snakes, make their home in the Louisiana wetlands.
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