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Coastal Marsh Die-back in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

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USGS Director Chip Groat with Louisiana Governor Mike Foster
Director Chip Groat with Governor Mike Foster.
USGS Director Chip Groat was one of three keynote speakers at a conference on "Coastal Marsh Die-back in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Extent, Causes, Consequences, and Remedies," held recently in Baton Rouge, La. He spoke on "Science for Understanding Change in Coastal Ecosystems and Restoring Degraded Environments." Other keynote speakers were Donald F. Boesch, President, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences, and Robert R. Twilley, Director, Center for Ecology and Environmental Technology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Governor Mike Foster attended part of the conference and was also represented by Len Bahr. U.S. Senators John Breaux and Mary Landrieu sent additional representatives.

The conference was attended by more than 350 scientists, private citizens, landowners, and managers. The USGS along with other Federal and State agencies as well as members of the private sector sponsored the conference in response to an unprecedented and widespread marsh die-back affecting Louisiana and parts of Texas and Florida. Beginning last spring, the normally lush green saltwater marsh grass, Spartina alterniflora, also known as smooth cordgrass, began turning brown. Because Louisiana loses 65 to 90 km2 of coastal wetlands a year, the impact of this new problem is of great concern in the State.

Related Web Sites
Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Tidal Wetlands Project
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
National Wetlands Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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