NEWS AND NOTES ISLAND S AN D WETLANDS DEVASTATE D BY KATRINA Barrier islands and coastal wet- lands can be an important defense against hurricanes. But in the Gulf Coast, those barriers were dam- aged so severely during Hurricane Katrina that they may not provide much resistance against storms in the near future. Part of the problem is that New Orleans' levees and dams limit the amount of sediment that flows to the mouth of the Missis- sippi River. It is this sediment that would normally help to provide mass for the barrier islands as well as encourage marsh growth. Thus, an unfortunate Catch-22 situation is created in which manmade attempts to mitigate hurricane damage interfere with nature's methods. "We humans are partly respon- sible," says Robert Young, a coastal marine geologist at Western Caro- lina University. "We've shackled the Mississippi, so sediment isn't coming down the river. The sedi- ment would add to the islands." Some islands in the area have almost completely disappeared in the wake of Katrina, while many areas of wetlands have seen plant Pre - and post-Katrina views of a section of th e Chandeleur Islands, a life completely demolished. The north-sout h oriented
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Dec 1, 2005
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