While Louisiana's erosion problems are well-documented, new research has surfaced that shows a continuing loss of coastal wetlands in the eastern United States. The additional attention being given to the issue surely has it benefits, but it could also mean more competition for Louisiana when it comes to federal funding.
The report, conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, shows a loss of 59,000 acres each year in the coastal watersheds of the Great Lakes, Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico from 1998 to 2004. One reason provided by the report for why wetland loss is concentrated in coastal watersheds is the large numbers of people living there (more than half of the nation's population lives in coastal counties in densities five times greater than inland counties).
Due to the trend, Jim Balsiger, acting NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA's Fisheries Service, says it's time to take the message beyond the bayou. "This report shows the nation's need to expand the effort to conserve and rebuild valuable coastal wetlands," says Balsiger.
His argument might sound familiar, since it mirrors the case Louisiana officials have been making for generations. "Coastal wetlands are nurseries for important commercial and recreational fish and are vital to many threatened and endangered species," says Balsiger. "They also provide natural protection to coastal communities from the most damaging effects of hurricanes and storm surges."
Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is onboard. Michael Shapiro, acting assistant administrator for water at the EPA, issued a written statement saying, "This report emphasizes the need for action to protect these valuable resources."
The "Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of the Eastern United States, 1998 to 2004" study is available online. The next national five-year study on wetlands produced by the two agencies will include the Pacific Coast, as well as more of the eastern United States.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to offer shares of its stock to the public for the first time.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.