Moderator – Katrina demonstrated that a hurricane can destroy newly created delta land, undermining the notion that this land can protect against hurricane surge. It also shows that even the best case for land building – Wax Lake and mouth of the Atchafalaya River – build only a fragile ghost of land.
Land Area Changes in Coastal Louisiana After the 2005 Hurricanes: A Series of Three Maps, By John A. Barras
This report includes three posters with analyses of net land area changes in coastal Louisiana after the 2005 hurricanes (Katrina and Rita). The first poster presents a basic analysis of net changes from 2004 to 2005; the second presents net changes within marsh communities from 2004 to 2005; and the third presents net changes from 2004 to 2005 within the historical perspective of change in coastal Louisiana from 1956 to 2004. The purpose of this analysis was to provide preliminary information on land area changes shortly after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and to serve as a regional baseline for monitoring wetland recovery following the 2005 hurricane season. Estimation of permanent losses cannot be made until several growing seasons have passed and the transitory impacts of the hurricanes are minimized, but this preliminary analysis indicates an approximate 217-mi2(562.03-km2) decrease in land/increase in water across coastal Louisiana.
Barras, John A., 2006, Land area change in coastal Louisiana after the 2005 hurricanes—a series of three maps: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 06-1274.
Posted October 2006