Sunday, October 02, 2005

It's the wetlands, stupid.

Any recovery plan needs to start with wetland restoration.

In the Mississippi Delta region south of New Orleans, coastal wetlands were once regularly replenished with sediment brought down from the Midwest and deposited during Mississippi River flooding. Now, the levees and navigation channels built to tame the Mississippi funnel that sediment deep into the Gulf.

In southwest Louisiana, canals, levees and roads built to aid rice farms and transportation now interrupt the natural "sheet flow" of water toward the Gulf. The features trap sediment needed to sustain marshes, and with less fresh water flowing south, saltwater intrudes and kills vegetation.

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