Skip to comments.Study Challenges thinking on the wetlands
Posted on 09/23/2006 8:36:01 AM PDT by UpTurn
Challenging the widely held view that levees and hurricanes are two of the biggest perpetrators in the ongoing demise of Louisiana's coast, researchers from Louisiana State University say the millions of tons of sand and silt swept in by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita prove that major storms actually help wetlands.
Their conclusions, reported in today's edition of the journal Science and based on sediment measurements taken after the storms, call into question the entire foundation of Louisiana's sweeping coastal restoration program. That effort has been driven by the assumption that levees along the Mississippi River starved the coast of vital sediments. Hurricanes, aided by canals carved for oil exploration, are depicted as antagonists that regularly lop off chunks of coastline with their storm surges.
The LSU study turns that wisdom on its head. It claims levees do not choke off as much marsh-building material as some environmentalists claim, and that hurricanes sweep in such material rather than just washing it away.
"This is going to open the debate again about what caused land loss and what to do about it," said LSU's Eugene Turner, the study's lead author and a professor at LSU's Coastal Ecology Institute.
But even as the study was made public Thursday, its conclusions already were being contested. While it is widely accepted that hurricanes sweep some mud and silt inland, the conventional view is that the loss of 2,000 square miles of coast in the last century was exacerbated by Katrina, Rita, Andrew, Juan and other hurricanes.
Public safety issue
Once a concern primarily among scientists and the fishing industry, Louisiana's coastal wetlands crisis became a paramount public safety issue after Katrina. The lack of a wetlands buffer allowed Katrina to sweep into the region unimpeded, causing more than 1,500 deaths and hundreds of billions
(Excerpt) Read more at nola.com ...
This article will tweak many. But I wonder how they can ignore the simple, measurable fact of the shrinking coast since Mississippi levees were formed? Their position is weak if they can't explain it.
I smell an agenda lurking in the wings.
True, I suspect any effect that Hurricanes have IF this is correct is quite low. I have huge doubts about this
Does this mean I can get rid of the wetlands on my property? I never realized that a swamp was so vital to the existance of humanity.