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The state of Louisiana is working to reverse much of the damage done by humans. They have an elaborate plan to spend billions to try to reclaim some of the coastal wetlands using more sediment that comes down the Mississippi River by “diverting” it and allowing it to flow into the marshes more naturally. The state is concerned about the more than 2 million people in the region. Louisiana’s working coast “annually sends more than $120 billion in goods and services to the rest of the United States and exports $36.2 billion internationally.” And it is central to the nation’s oil and gas industry and fisheries — it supplies 90% of the nation’s outer continental shelf oil and gas, 20% of the nation’s annual waterborne commerce, and 26% (by weight) of the continental U.S. commercial fisheries landings.
How Do They Know?
The researchers spent years extracting hundreds of “sediment cores,” or thick cylinders of mud and peat, from across the Mississippi Delta. They used these samples to analyze the sediment to determine the history of the region stretching back thousands of years. Consequently, they determined when the wetlands were created, and saw how after the last ice age much of the region was simply open water. Donald Boesch, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Maryland who has closely studied the Louisiana wetlands, told The Post that the study is “well-documented, analyzed and reasoned,” also pointed out that the marshes have been less vulnerable in recent years than scientists expected for reasons that are not well-understood. The authors are pessimistic that any short term slow down of wetlands loss is a sign of a change — they believe that it is inevitable that they will be submerged.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Last summer, Florida created its first aquatic preserve in over 30 years. The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve protects about 400,000 acres of seagrass just north of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf coast. These are part of the Gulf of Mexico’s largest seagrass bed and borders other existing preserves, creating a […]
A new study has found that whale songs can be a powerful tool for mapping the ocean floor. Seismic testing done by humans can harm whales and other marine life, but by using whale songs instead, scientists believe the practice can be adapted to be much less harmful to marine populations.
Why This Matters: For years, the fossil fuel industry has hauled “seismic guns” behind large boats, blasting loud, harmful bursts of sound that disturb sea life and impair the sonar of animals like whales and dolphins.
Much as our national parks on land are some of our greatest natural treasures, marine national monuments safeguard precious ecosystems and protect them now and for future generations. The National Marine Sanctuary System encompasses more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters, and contains amazing cultural and historical resources, as well as […]
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