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Staff & Center News

Two USGS Coastal Scientists Named to Louisiana Coastal-Restoration Advisory Board

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The low-relief Mississippi River delta plain of Louisiana is undergoing the highest rates of barrier-island erosion (approximately 10 meters per year) and wetland loss (approximately 75 square kilometers per year) of any State in the Nation and, likely, any region in the world. Much of this erosion has resulted from natural processes, such as storms, subsidence, and sea-level rise and sediment starvation due to delta cycling by the Mississippi River.

Increasingly over the past century, however, anthropogenic activities, such as oil and gas development, flood control, and navigation, are exacerbating land loss and increasing the risks of storm damage and flooding to south-central Louisiana, especially to such urban areas as New Orleans. In an effort to stem the rate of erosion and restore the wetland ecosystem, a Federal-State partnership has produced a $14-billion program plan that recommends massive barrier-island and wetland restoration and re-engineering of the Mississippi River.

Recognizing the critical need for coastal science to guide the restoration efforts, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources' Office of Coastal Restoration and Management has recently formed the Louisiana Gulf Shoreline Restoration Advisory Board, composed of nine scientists and engineers.

Two of the new science advisors are U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists Jeff Williams ( Woods Hole, MA) and Abby Sallenger (St. Petersburg, FL), who have distinguished careers in coastal research and nearly 40 years combined in studies of geologic framework and storm effects in Louisiana. As part of the inaugural board meeting on November 20, 2002, in New Orleans, Williams and Sallenger participated in a workshop on coastal restoration attended by more than 60 people; they spoke, respectively, on the following topics:

  • offshore sediment resources, using usSEABED digital-map technology, for barrier restoration, and
  • lidar (light detection and ranging) technology used to map barrier responses to storms, such as recent Tropical Storm Isidore and Hurricane Lilli.

Related Web Sites
Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Task Force (LA Coast)
inter-agency cooperative
Coast 2050 - Louisiana Coastal Feasibility Study
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Louisiana Department of Natural Resources

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
USS Arizona

Adriatic Sea Sediment-Transport Cruise

Bear Lake Sea-Floor Mapping

Assateague Island Vegetation Mapping

Field-Testing New Portable Drilling System

Research Diamondback Terrapin

Outreach Transoceanic Dust Impacts

Woods Hole Field Center Open House

St. Petersburg Field Center Open House

Great American Teach-In

Fourth-Graders Tour St. Petersburg Field Center

Girl Scouts 90th Anniversary


Meetings Effects of Fishing Activities on Benthic Habitats

Planning Gas-Hydrates Research

Science and Politics in Ecosystem Decisions

Sea-Floor Mapping Techniques

Staff & Center News GHASTLI Lab Visitors

Science Museum Board

Two New Scientists

Louisiana Coastal-Restoration Advisory Board

Air Medical Transport Center Tour

MRIB Programmer

New Webmistress

Publications Dec./Jan. Publications List

FirstGov.gov U. S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
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