Monday, May 07, 2007
The Incredibly Shrinking Louisianan Coastline
The Louisianan state quarter is unique in that it shows the previous Louisiana. By this I not only mean it shows the Louisiana of the Louisiana Purchase but also the former coastline of the state. Man made dams and levees on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers combined with canal construction is leading to the destruction of the coastline of Louisiana. In fact it is estimated up to twenty-five miles square miles of marshland is lost to the Gulf of Mexico each year.
The loss of marshland coastline matters. The marshes form a projective barrier which helps keep oil pumping stations and New Orleans safe (if the levees do not fail). To make the protection more applicable to the average person, just realize all that tax money that will be wasted constantly rebuilding southern Louisiana if the protective marshes continue to disappear.
Also lost will be hundreds of square miles of rare wildlife habitat. Not to mention the home of the unique Cajun and Creole cultures.
From the current loss a project called Marsh Mission developed. An artist and a photographer got together and documented to beauty and necessity of the Louisianan marshlands. They have released their artistic work in book form and it makes for a wonderful coffee table book. On the website is a section called Coastal Correspondent which can be used as a learning tool about the marshlands.
The site America's Wetland has detailed background information and proposed plans on saving the coastline.
With everyone busy debating climate change, it is to forget that there are other environmental battle to fight. The fight to save the wetlands ranges from purely environmental to economics. It is one environmental fight everyone can work together on.