Monday, August 30, 2010

Sewage Could Restore Lousiana Wetlands

I have always been interested in the wetlands of Louisiana.  The physical and cultural makeup of the Mississippi Bayou and nearby swamp lands have created a special region which is unique yet pure Americana.

Since Hurricane Katrina five years ago the dangers which threaten the wetlands have been a frequently discussed topic in geography.  Dams along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers have deprived the wetlands of restoring sediments and canals have brought wetland-destroying salt water.

The outlook for the wetlands looked pretty bleak with no light to lessen the pessimism. Now a private-public partnership has a promise of restoration.  There is a plan to pump semi-treated wastewater and biosolids, organic goo left over in sewage treatment, into Bayou Bienvenue.  The sewage mix would add organic matter to replace lost soil and it will be fertile enough to support the growth of stabilizing Cypress trees and swamp grass.

The science behind this effort seems strong.  If successful the recycling of what was once viewed as pure waste will not only give New Orleans a hurricane buffer but also help restore lost wetlands, protect wildlife, and help restore the Cajun landscape.

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