Sigma Xi Publications



American Scientist

After the Oil Spill: Restoration efforts bring hope to the Gulf of Mexico's battered marshlands

Louisiana’s Highway 1 passes through miles of eroding wetlands in Jefferson Parish. Ridges called cherniers mark where the barrier island beach once was. This stretch of road traverses along the barrier island southwest of Barataria Bay, between Grand Isle and Port Fourchon. This island helps protect the bay and has benefited from the Caminada Headland restoration, which enhanced beaches and dunes near the highway, a critical hurricane evacuation route. In “Renewed Hope for Coastal Marshes in Louisiana.” Paige Byerly, Bethann Garramon Merkle, and Megan Hepner talk about the restoration of another Louisiana barrier island, Whiskey Island, as an example of the efforts to curb the state’s rapid loss of saltmarshes. These marsh ecosystems harbor a diversity of flora and fauna, and also provide protection from storm surges and erosion. Before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, many of these plants and animals were not monitored. Today, new data are emerging to provide a fuller picture of marsh ecology. (Photograph taken by Ben Depp in 2014.) Read this issue.

March–April 2019

Sigma Xi Publications