New tool educates on wetlands loss

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wwltv.com

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 8:22 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 15 at 8:40 PM

Mike Hoss / Eyewitness News
Email: mhoss@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhosswwl

NEW ORLEANS -- The daily loss of its coastline is well documented, but now the state is unveiling a new tool, one that's educating people just how important winning the battle is to this area.

Only stumps remain of what used to be a flourishing cypress tree swampland at the Bayou Bienvenu triangle in the Lower 9th Ward. The vegetation and ecosystem were killed off by the saltwater delivered for decades by the now closed MR-GO.

This is not how it was originally designed.

"This area, years ago, was envisioned to be a neighborhood. They actually laid this out to have roads and houses and different plots of land, and you can look at it today and see that it is all open water,” said Garret Graves of the Coastal Restoration Authority of Louisiana

With new interactive signs, the state and environmental groups are hoping to use this 440-acre area as an open air classroom and show locals and visitors that the loss of land here means the loss of habitat the natural buffer zone for  storm protection.

And it’s happening all along Louisiana's coastline, but to see the impact, you only need to drive five miles from the French Quarter.

"What you see here is happening on a much larger scale to the tune of 1,900 square miles across south Louisiana that we've lost,” said Graves, “and so this being in the city of New Orleans adjacent to neighborhoods to show the communities, to show the 2 million people that live in south Louisiana what's happening along our coast and why it’s not a problem just for the birds and fish."

The problem is at the city's doorstep. Part of the answer is education.

“It’s our hope that these signs will raise awareness and inspire people to get involved and to help the community achieve its' vision for the restored Bayou Bienvenu wetland triangle,” said Amanda Moore of the National Wildlife Federation.

The signs can be found at the Bayou Bienvenue Triangle viewing platform at the intersection of Caffin and Florida avenues in the lower 9th Ward.

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