The landscape of New Orleans is part of the wetlands system of southern Louisiana, and the city’s future depends on the health of that regional system.
Why wetlands matter
During storms and hurricanes, the wetlands protect New Orleans from surges in the Gulf of Mexico by absorbing and slowing water. Estimates vary, but scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggest that an area of one to four square miles of wetlands between New Orleans and the gulf can reduce a storm surge that threatens the city by one foot (source: Anna Simon, MIT, 20 August 2010). Beyond that, the wetlands support industries that contribute substantially to the city’s economy. READ MORE >>
22 posts categorized "Wetlands"
John Taylor works for the CSED as Wetlands Specialist. "Thoughts from A Special Place" will be made of his quotes and photographs about the Bayou.
John has spent most of his life enjoying Bayou Bienvenue hunting, fishing, admiring, interacting, (teaching people) and taking photos of the bayou and the wildlife in and around the triangle
Please stay tuned to this blog to see some of his beautiful work!
From Wildlife Promise
New Orleans’ Central Wetlands were once a flourishing cypress swamp, home to a dizzying array of fish and wildlife, including alligators and hundreds of species of migrating birds. An easy drive from downtown, the Central Wetlands were also a haven for locals, who often hunted or fished for food in its waters.
Today the Central Wetlands are an open expanse of saltwater, punctuated only by the stumps of dead cypress trees. READ MORE >>
By Amy Wold
It could be a science center, a historical marker, an environmental tourist stop, a coastal restoration guinea pig or all of those things, but those working on a project near Bayou Bienvenue just want to make sure the end result is a cypress swamp in a 400-acre area near the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans.
As recently as the 1960s, this parcel of land was a cypress swamp where area residents went fishing and hunting, but has since turned into an open water, shallow lake. The only remnants of the forest that used to exist in this Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle are the stumps that appear during low water.
The change came after the completion of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet navigation channel in the 1960s, which helped bring saltwater into the freshwater cypress swamp, causing the trees to start dying.
“About 1969 or 1970, the trees started dying and falling down,” said John Taylor, 65, a lifelong resident of the area.
As part of Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development’s work since Hurricane Katrina, many groups including the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, numerous universities and others have worked on rebuilding the cypress swamp. READ MORE >>
By Amanda Moore
What would you do if, in one day, you lost everything? I’m not just talking about your personal possessions; I’m talking about your entire community – your church, your grocery store, your school. The folks you meet in the video below, Warrenetta Banks and John Taylor, have lived out this scenario every day since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 and have chosen to respond with passion and dedication to recovery – advocating for smart, green urban planning on one side of the levee and a healthy wetland ecosystem on the other side of the levee.
Warrenetta and John are both lifelong residents of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. In the years since catastrophic flooding, they’ve helped their community recover to be one of the “greenest” in the nation – solar panels, community gardens, LEED certified homes are typical encounters as you walk down the street. That’s on one side of the levee.
Residents like Warrenetta and John understand all too well that the wetland ecosystem on the other side of the levee is critical to their future and safety. Healthy wetlands serve as a buffer to storm surges and winds and help the levees do their job to protect communities. National Wildlife Federation is one organization working closely with the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (where Warrenetta and John work) to plan and gain funding for restoration of the 400 acres cypress swamp bordering the community (featured in the video) as well as the entire 58,000 acres wetland ecosystem the swamp is connected to, which once buffered much of the Greater New Orleans area from storms and provided important wildlife habitat. READ MORE >>
The past two days at Bayou Bienvenue have featured a flurry of activity with Common Ground Relief, the CSED, the Sierra Club and volunteers from the University of Wisconsin who have been removing invasive species of plants, and planting native ones, on the spoil bank in Bayou Bienvenue. Along with removing the invasives, the volunteers removed trash and planted 250 Bald Tupelo Cypress saplings, and transplanted some Spartina.