Watermark: Louisiana Sinking

kolbert.jpgAs the land continues to shrink, groves of dead cypress trees, known as ghost forests, mark the advance of the encroaching salt water. An area the size of a football field succumbs every thirty-eight minutes. Read Elizabeth Kolbert's article in the Feb 27 New Yorker. We learn that long before Katrina it was an area of constant change as the river determined the landscape. "Lafourche Parish is what is left of the lobe laid down during the Roman Empire. The City of New Orleans sits on a lobe that came into being around the time of the Pyramids." These are not geological timescales, and they are disappearing even more quickly. "Between 1930 and 2000, some 1.2 million acres, an area roughly the size of Delaware, disappeard. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita stripped away an estimated seventy-five thousand acres- an area as big as Manhattan and Brooklyn combined." Despite attempts at wetland restoration, it will probably get worse. "What use to be the once-in-a-lifetime flood, you could see every season." Not a happy prognosis for New Orleans, but an important article in ::New Yorker

photo portion of photograph by Robert Polidori

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