The impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 on wetland vegetation were investigated in Louisiana coastal marshes. Vegetation cover, pore-water salinity, and nutrients data from 100 marsh sites covering the entire Louisiana coast were sampled for two consecutive growing seasons after the storms. A mixed-model nested ANOVA with Tukey's HSD test for post-ANOVA multiple comparisons was used to analyze the data. Significantly (p<0.05) lower vegetation cover was observed within brackish and fresh marshes in the west as compared to the east and central regions throughout 2006, but considerable increase in vegetation cover was noticed in fall 2007 data. Marshes in the west were stressed by prolonged saltwater logging and increased sulfide content. High salinity levels persisted throughout the study period for all marsh types, especially in the west. The marshes of coastal Louisiana are still recovering after the hurricanes; however, changes in the species composition have increased in these marshes.
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USGS Numbered Series
Hurricane Influences on Vegetation Community Change in Coastal Louisiana