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Coastal & Marine Geology Program > St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > Lake Pontchartrain Basin

Geologic Framework and Processes of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Home
Field Methods
Topics of Investigation
Geologic Framework
Wetland Change
Water Circulation
Satellite Imagery
Bonnet-Carré Spillway Event
Water Turbidity
Sea-Surface Temperature
1997 Algal Bloom
Project Contact:
Jim Flocks


Pontchartrain Basin map
Lake Pontchartrain Basin
Lake Pontchartrain and adjacent lakes in Louisiana form one of the larger estuaries in the Gulf Coast region. The estuary drains the Pontchartrain Basin (at right), an area of over 12,000 km2 situated on the eastern side of the Mississippi River delta plain. In Louisiana, nearly one-third of the State population lives within the 14 parishes of the basin.

Over the past 60 years, rapid growth and development within the basin, along with natural processes, have resulted in significant environmental degradation and loss of critical habitat in and around Lake Pontchartrain. Human activities associated with pollutant discharge and surface drainage have greatly affected the water quality in the lake. This change is evident in the bottom sediments, which record the historic health of the lake. Also, land-altering activities such as logging, dredging, and flood control in and around the lake, lead to shoreline erosion and loss of wetlands.The effects of pollution, shoreline erosion and wetland loss on the lake and surrounding areas have become a major public concern.

To better understand the basin's origin and the processes driving its development and degradation requires a wide-ranging study involving many organizations and personnel. When the U.S. Geological Survey began the study of Lake Pontchartrain in 1994, information on four topics was needed:

USGS Collaborators External Collaborators
Jeff Williams (framework)
Jack Kindinger (framework, retired)
James Flocks (geochem.)
Rich Signell (modeling)
Jeff List (modeling)
Frank Manheim (contam. sed.)
Chris Polloni (database, visuals)
Chuck Holmes (age dating)
Marci Marot (age dating)
C. Demas (WRD, water quality)
Rick Stumpf (remote sensing)
Debra Willard (palynology)
S. Penland (UNO)
K. Clemens Dennis (NOAA)
M. Davis (CRCL)
D. Britch (USACE)
C. Dufrechou (LPBF)
J. Waters (LPBF)
N. Thomas (EPA)
S. Noakes (U Ga.)

UNO - University of New Orleans
CRCL - Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
LPBF - Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation

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Project News:

Related Research Projects:

Subsidence and Sea-Level Rise in Southeastern Louisiana: Implications for Coastal Management and Restoration
USGS Coastal & Marine Geology Program

Subsidence and Fault Activation Related to Fluid Energy Production, Gulf Coast Basin
USGS Coastal & Marine Geology Program

Related Links:

Coastal Research Laboratory
University of New Orleans

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation
non-profit organization

Coastal & Marine Geology Program > St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > Lake Pontchartrain Basin

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Center for Coastal & Regional Marine Studies

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Updated December 05, 2016 @ 11:25 AM(THF)