The aim of this study is to improve estimates of wetland land loss in two study regions of coastal Louisiana, U.S.A., due to the extreme storms that impacted the region between 2004 and 2009. The estimates are based on change-detection-mapping analysis that incorporates pre and postlandfall (Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike) fractional-water classifications using a combination of high-resolution (<5 m) QuickBird, IKONOS, and GeoEye-1, and medium-resolution (30 m) Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite imagery. This process was applied in two study areas: the Hackberry area located in the southwestern part of chenier plain that was impacted by Hurricanes Rita (September 24, 2005) and Ike (September 13, 2008), and the Delacroix area located in the eastern delta plain that was impacted by Hurricanes Katrina (August 29, 2005) and Gustav (September 1, 2008). In both areas, effects of the hurricanes include enlargement of existing bodies of open water and erosion of fringing marsh areas. Surge-removed marsh was easily identified in stable marshes but was difficult to identify in degraded or flooded marshes. Persistent land loss in the Hackberry area due to Hurricane Rita was approximately 5.8% and increased by an additional 7.9% due to Hurricane Ike, although this additional area may yet recover. About 80% of the Hackberry study area remained unchanged since 2003. In the Delacroix area, persistent land loss due to Hurricane Katrina measured approximately 4.9% of the study area, while Hurricane Gustav caused minimal impact of 0.6% land loss by November 2009. Continued recovery in this area may further erase Hurricane Gustav's impact in the absence of new storm events.
Additional publication details
Land loss due to recent hurricanes in coastal Louisiana, U.S.A.