Monday, October 16, 2006

Map: 217 square miles of coastal land loss









It's later than we thought in coastal Louisiana:

"We had a 50-year projection for wetlands loss as part of the Louisiana Coastal Area Ecosystem Restoration plan," said USGS scientist Jimmy Johnston., referring to the proposed $1.2 billion collection of restoration projects still awaiting congressional approval. "Guess what? That's outdated. We went through 40 percent of that loss with these storm events."

More maps at the USGS.

More recently in the TP:
Even as the timber industry pushes into the swamps to eke another round of logging from forests last harvested a century ago, the tree-killing waters of the Gulf of Mexico are seeping ever deeper into areas such as the Maurepas Swamp, a sprawling wetlands that encircles Lake Maurepas in St. John the Baptist, Tangipahoa, Livingston and Ascension parishes. Traveling inland through canals cut for shipping and oil and gas exploration, the invading spike of salt water has turned tens of thousands of acres of cypress stands into an ecological wasteland of dead and dying trees. ...

State forestry officials estimate south Louisiana's cypress forests are cut at the rate of 8,000 to 10,000 acres a year.



The oil industry appears to be succeeding in exonerating itself from blame for wetland loss:
I looked foward to the release of "Hurricane on the Bayou" in the hope that it would help the country better understand the situation that has left us so vulnerable to hurricanes and storm surge. I assumed the film would cover the impact of canal dredging that supported the extraction of oil from our coast. That is the major contributor to the wetlands loss that has left us so vulnerable.

Unfortunately, the filmmakers left that out completely and attributed wetlands loss entirely to the building of levees along the Mississippi River.

The movie's funding, in large part, was provided by Louisiana, whose "America's Wetlands" campaign was funded by the oil industry. It looks like the oil industry has bought silence from the state and from the filmmakers.

S.M.G., New Orleans (from the print edition of the Lagniappe, 10/13/06)

Meanwhile, DO NOT BUY CYPRESS MULCH! And tell your gardening supplies store that if it keeps selling cypress mulch, it'll be in the Gulf of Mexico one of these days.

Related:
President Bush: Category 5 storm protection and coastal restoration now!

Curious George's Jackson Square speech redux

Craig Romero isn't right for Louisiana

Save cypress forests

Let's hire the Dutch!

Update on Vitter provision that will endanger the ivory-billed woodpecker's habitat

Independent, objective science

Tags: | | | | | Bush is a moron | Impeach Bush | George W Bush | Bush | Worst President Ever | Ray Nagin | Worst Mayor Ever | Recall Ray Nagin | | | Katrina Dissidents | Failure Is Not An Option | Katrina One Year Anniversary

5 Comments:

At 10/16/2006 10:31:00 AM, Anonymous JM said...

All of the "after" pictures are "immediately after Katrina" pictures - it's a shame there aren't aerial photos from this fall. From the T-P article: Going back into the areas around Breton Sound and Caernarvon, when you look at this year's growing crop of Spartina alterniflora (the most prevalent wetland grass in south Louisiana), there's a lot more land out there than there was in the months immediately after Katrina.

I remember from other hurricanes that the wetlands would take a hit, but then bounce back on their own. Yes, the overall trend was still for loss, but it was never as bad as it first looked right after the storm. It would be interesting to know what regrowth has happened naturally in the past year.

 
At 10/16/2006 01:41:00 PM, Blogger velvet_rut said...

Does anyone know of a wholesale (or merely cheap) source of cotton hull mulch?


Brickbats to the oil companies re: the "Hurricane on the Bayou" buyoff.

 
At 10/16/2006 07:02:00 PM, Blogger Dambala said...

It is the 900 lb. gorilla. Without a comprehensive plan for wetlands restoration...New Orleans has about 60 years left, 90 if we're lucky. We can build 50 ft. levee walls, and we'll be a mudhole island in the gulf without a restoration program.

If you look at Lake Borgne...calling it a Lake now is like calling the Sahara a sandbox. Borgne is now the gulf...it's not a lake. It is an ominous forbearer of Pontchartrain's fate.

I know this is not a very popular thing to say, but if we can't fund a wetlands restoration plan...we need to create a permanent evacution plan for N.O. Houma needs one now. Without restoration, my kids are going to witness the death of this city.

It seems like we're all picking our battles in the N.O. blogosphere....I think you're harping on the most important, Schroeder. Nothing is more imporant than this...nothing.

 
At 10/17/2006 06:53:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

That's true JM. I think they're still watching to see what happens.

Cotton hull mulch? I haven't a clue. You could drive up to cotton country.

A permanent evacuation plan? It's a pathetic state of affairs that we haven't seen a commitment yet for comprehensive coastal restoration.

 
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