Evacuation Plan


Hurricane Katrina: Damage to Wetlands
Written by Samantha Fox, Anna Simon, and Sara Barnowski

On August 29th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans causing immense destruction in and around the city.

When the hurricanes passed over the wetlands, sediments were churned, and anywhere from one to six inches of new sediment were measure on the wetlands (Drye).  While this could be a very good addition to the soil-deprived wetlands, the hurricanes during 2005 also eroded a lot of land at a much faster rate than it had been deteriorating previously.  From Hurricane Katrina alone, the wetlands east of the Mississippi River lost 25% of their land area (Dean, 2006).  Though the additional sediment should promote growth in some areas, there was still a large amount of damage done in other locations. 

Hurricane Katrina had a severe and negative impact of Louisiana's barrier islands.  Hurricane Katrina's eyewall passed directly over the Chandeleur Islands, and reduced them an estimated 50% (Louisiana Hurricane Resources). Hurricane Katrina's winds and storm surge also eroded areas of barrier islands much further away from the center of the storm.  Although barrier islands have some ability to regenerate after a hurricane, the regeneration process takes a lot of time, and is often incomplete.  Hurricane Katrina had an especially strong impact on the barrier islands not only because of its size and strength, but also because it was the fifth hurricane to impact the Louisiana coast in eight years (Louisiana Hurricane Resources).

One of the few positive results of Hurricane Katrina was that it sparked further concern for Louisiana’s disappearing coast.  People finally understood the value of wetlands not only for the environment, but as a form of protection from hurricanes.  With this newly instated drive, many more projects have been done to help the area and to push the coastal reclamation endeavors forward.