Constraining rates and trends of historical wetland loss, Mississippi River Delta Plain, south-central Louisiana

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The timing, magnitude, and rate of wetland loss were described for five wetland-loss hotspots in the Terrebonne Basin of the Mississippi River delta plain. Land and water areas were mapped for 34 dates between 1956 and 2004 from historical National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) datasets, aerial photographs, and Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) satellite images. Since 1956, the emergent land area at the five study areas in south-central Louisiana has decreased by about 50%. Comparison of the water-area curve derived from the 29 TM images with water-level records from the nearby Grand Isle, Louisiana tide gauge (NOS #8761724) clearly shows that changes in land and water areas fluctuate in response to variations in regional water levels. The magnitude of water-area fluctuations decreased from the 1980s to the 1990s as former areas of wet marsh within and immediately adjacent to the wetland-loss hotspots became permanently submerged. The most rapid wetland loss occurred during the late 1960s and 1970s. Peak wetland-loss rates during this period were two to four times greater than both the pre-1970s background rates and the most recent wetland-loss rates. These results provide constraints on predicting future delta-plain wetland losses and identify Landsat TM imagery as an important source for analyzing land- and water-area changes across the entire delta plain.

Study Area

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Constraining rates and trends of historical wetland loss, Mississippi River Delta Plain, south-central Louisiana
Year Published 2006
Language English
Publisher Water Resource Publications
Publisher location Highlands Ranch, CO
Contributing office(s) Coastal and Marine Geology Program, National Wetlands Research Center, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Description 12 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Coastal environment and water quality: proceedings of the AIH 25th Anniversary Meeting & International Conference "Challenges in Coastal Hyrology and Water Quality"
First page 371
Last page 382
Country United States
State Louisiana
Other Geospatial Mississippi River Delta Plain
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