Navigation Links
Wetlands restoration not a panacea for Louisiana coast
Date:9/26/2008

Boulder, CO, USA Counting on wetlands restoration projects to protect storm buffeted infrastructure along the Louisiana Coast is likely to be a "losing battle" that provides "false hope" and prevents endangered communities from clearly planning for their future, says a researcher from Western Carolina University (WCU).

As hurricanes have pounded the Gulf of Mexico this fall, the media has been filled with the words of politicians, policy makers, NGOs and local communities touting the importance of ongoing wetlands restoration projects as long-term storm protection for coastal communities and infrastructure. Unfortunately, there's little science to support this growing belief.

"I think that's a potentially dangerous message" said Robert Young, director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at WCU. "While I think that wetland restoration is a worthy goal, there's almost no scientific evidence that suggests that we will be able to put the wetlands back on the scale and nature needed to reduce storm impacts."

Young is scheduled to present recommendations from a recent white paper, co-authored by 26 leading coastal scientists and engineers, on Tuesday, 7 October, at the 2008 Joint Meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, this week in Houston, Texas, USA.

As a hurricane moves toward land, onshore winds push water in front of the storm and cause water levels to rise as the storm makes landfall. This storm surge can range from several to 30-plus feet and, along with the waves that accompany the storm, inflict the greatest damage to infrastructure, Young said.

Wetlands can dampen the effect of storm surge, the problem is that scientists don't fully understand the impact that adding wetlands might have. "In order to predict the impact of wetlands on storm surge, you need to have good storm surge data to understand what happened in the past. But we simply don't have that data," Young said. "It's one of the gaping holes that we have in understanding what's going on at the coast."

The problem is that storm surge is hard to measure. "You can't just go out there and stand with a stick and measure a 30-foot storm surge." There's also a tremendous amount of variability in storm surge height along the shore, variability that isn't reflected in current storm impact models.

Scientists can measure storm meteorology wind speeds and directions, rainfall and such but until they can measure the ground effects of storm surge, including how far inland the waves are penetrating, "we'll never be able to say much of anything about storm impact, and we certainly won't be able to calibrate, verify and check the veracity of the models being used."

As a result, the models are flying blind, Young said. Add to this the fact that land loss is happening at such a rate in the Gulf, due to subsidence of the Delta and exacerbated by rising sea levels, that Young fears that the billion-dollar restoration programs planned for the region will do little to maintain the status quo, let alone repair previous damage.

"I'm afraid that over the long term this is a losing battle," Young said. "If the government of the State of Louisiana wants to do its citizens the best service, it needs to begin to understand how it will relocate some of these communities."

**WHEN & WHERE**

Tuesday, 7 October, 3:45 PM
George R. Brown Convention Center: Ballroom C

View abstract, paper 6-6: "Restoring Coastal Louisiana Will Not Guarantee the Protection of Infrastructure from Storms: Policy Makers Should Also Plan for Strategic Relocation of Critical Infrastructure and Vulnerable Communities" at http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2008am/webprogram/Paper51130.html.


'/>"/>

Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
303-357-1093
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Flooding might help lower gas emission from wetlands
2. Rising energy, food prices major threats to wetlands as farmers eye new areas for crops
3. Lack of large-scale experiments slows progress of environmental restoration
4. 8-day undersea mission begins experiment to improve coral reef restoration
5. Integrating restoration and conservation within the ecosystem approach
6. UMCES-led research team quantifies nutrient pollution reductions from urban stream restoration
7. The art of using science to inform ecosystem restoration in Puget Sound
8. Louisiana Tech researchers feature drug reformulation in prestigious journal
9. Louisiana Tech researchers investigate tracking, sensors to assist Air Force
10. New studies find global warming will have significant economic impacts on Florida coasts
11. New book brings upper US Gulf Coast climate change and sea-level rise into focus
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/2/2017)... , March 2, 2017 Summary ... better understand Merck KGaA and its partnering interests and ... https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/3605601/ Description The Partnering Deals and Alliance ... partnering activity of one of the world,s leading life ... prepared upon purchase to ensure inclusion of the most ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... , February 28, 2017 News solutions for ... ... from 14 to 16 March, Materna will present ... show how seamless travel is a real benefit for passengers. ... biometrics to their passenger touch point solutions to take passengers through ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... LONDON , Feb. 22, 2017 ... by 2021, ABI Research identifies four technologies that ... solutions to secure significant share in the changing ... payments, and passive authentication.   "Companies ... it comes to security," says Dimitrios Pavlakis ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017  GlobeImmune, Inc. today announced it has ... of 12,835,490 shares of its common stock to NantCell, ... connection with the sale of its common stock, NantCell ... issue to GlobeImmune 200,000 shares, an estimated $2.0 million ... "We are pleased to enter into this strategic agreement ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... NEW YORK , March 23, 2017 ... ... causes of death, putting significant strain on health care systems, ... of cancer diagnoses rises, so too does the development of ... with minimum side effects. Among the many types of cancer ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... 23, 2017 , ... Advanced Polymer Monitoring Technologies (APMT), a ... “Sig” Floyd as Vice President ? Global Business Development. Dr. Floyd will lead ... Floyd’s career has spanned 30 years in the chemicals and equipment industries. Sig ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... Calif. , March 22, 2017  UBM ... proud to announce their extended partnership and the ... be headlined by the 21 st Annual ... Boston, taking place May 3-4, 2017. ... Medical Technology Association (ADVAMED) President and CEO, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: