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Louisiana's barrier islands: A vanishing resource

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Abstract

Louisiana's barrier islands are eroding so quickly that according to some estimates they will disappear by the end of this century. Although there is little human habitation on these islands, their erosion may have a severe impact on the environment landward of the barriers. As the islands disintegrate, the vast system of sheltered wetlands along Louisiana's delta plain are exposed to increasingly open Gulf conditions. Through the processes of increasing wave attack, salinity intrusion, storm surge, tidal range, and sediment transport, removal of the barrier islands may significantly accelerate deterioration of wetlands that have already experienced the greatest areal losses in the U.S. Because these wetlands are nurseries for many species of fish and shellfish, the loss of the barrier islands and the accelerated loss of the protected wetlands may have a profound impact in the billion dollar per year fishing industry supported by Louisiana's fragile coastal environment.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Unnumbered Series
Title:
Louisiana's barrier islands: A vanishing resource
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Woods Hole, MA
Contributing office(s):
Coastal and Marine Geology Program, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description:
HTML Document
Public Comments:
Published between 2003 and 2004
Country:
United States
State:
Louisiana
Online Only (Y/N):
Y