Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana on August 29, 2005, and Hurricane Rita made landfall in southwest Louisiana on September 24, 2005. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) flew aerial surveys to assess damages to natural resources and to lands owned and managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and other agencies. Flights were made on eight dates from August 27 through October 4, including one pre-Katrina, three post-Katrina, and four post-Rita surveys. The geographic area surveyed extended from Galveston, Tex., to Gulf Shores, Ala., and from the Gulf of Mexico shoreline inland 5-75 mi (8-121 km). Impacts to barrier island habitats were severe, especially at the Chandeleur Islands, which were reduced in land area by roughly 50 percent. Marsh impacts varied but were greatest in St. Bernard and Cameron Parishes, where much emergent vegetation was scoured or killed. Forested wetlands were impacted heavily, especially in the Pearl River basin and on the cheniers of southwest Louisiana.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Aerial rapid assessment of hurricane damages to northern Gulf coastal habitats: Chapter 5A in Science and the storms-the USGS response to the hurricanes of 2005