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Louisiana Coast

Guide to an American Wetland

By Gay M. Gomez

Publication Year: 2008

Hurricane Katrina gave the nation an urgent reminder of the extent and value of Louisiana’s wetlands when daily discussions of subsidence and sedimentation revealed how much ordinary coastal processes affect humanity—and vice versa. Now, with a native Louisiana naturalist as a guide, readers can learn how best to enjoy, appreciate, and protect this vanishing landscape. Part natural history and part field guide, The Louisiana Coast takes readers across one of only three major chenier plains in the world to the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest river basin swamp on the continent, and through the network of bayous, natural levees, cypress swamps, marshes, and barrier islands of the Deltaic Plain. Color photographs illustrate chapters on vegetation, wildlife, and the rich human culture that defines Louisiana. With the intimate knowledge of one whose life has been shaped by this remarkable environment, author Gay M. Gomez leads visitors to nature trails, wildlife refuges, Audubon sanctuaries, and parks. A visitor’s guide at the end of the book features destinations open to the public for wildlife watching, photography, and even hunting, fishing, crabbing, and cast netting. Everyone who lives in or visits Louisiana and anyone interested in the conservation, ecology, natural history, and geography of the region will appreciate Gomez’s exploration of the land, its people, its resources, and its vulnerabilities. The Louisiana Coast will encourage readers to share the author’s love for this vital, distinct, and beautiful place.  

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

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Prelude: Coastal Roots

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pp. ix-xii

Although I have traveled on six continents, south Louisiana is my favorite place of all. It is my home by birth and for nearly half a century has been my . . .

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1. The Louisiana Coast: Vital, Valuable, and Vulnerable

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pp. 1-12

Louisiana’s coast is a special place. The vast extent and variety of wetlands here are unparalleled anywhere in the temperate regions of North America. Marshes . . .

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2. Deltaic Plain and Chenier Plain Landscapes

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pp. 13-38

Louisiana’s coast is a gift of the Mississippi River. During the past seven thousand years, North America’s most extensive . . .

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3. Coastal Vistas: Vegetation

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pp. 39-68

The Louisiana coast is characterized by a variety of wetlands and adjacent upland areas, and this chapter describes and . . .

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4. Coastal Vistas: Wildlife

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pp. 69-98

Wildlife abounds in Louisiana’s coastal zone. As a visitor drives through or along the edge of the region’s wetlands, however, only a small . . .

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5. Coastal Vistas: Human Activities

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pp. 99-120

For many people—local residents and visitors, city and country dwellers—the coast’s fertile blending of land and water is rest for the weary, excitement for the . . .

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6. Wetland Loss and Restoration

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pp. 121-136

Louisiana’s coast has always been a dynamic place, growing in response to sediment deposition and retreating as the forces of subsidence and erosion take their . . .

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7. Visiting the Coast

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pp. 137-161

Louisiana’s coast is a place that surprises. On any given day, even those who have lifelong experience in these lands and on these waters will find something new to capture the . . .

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8. Conclusion: Tenacity 163

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pp. 163-167

On a cold winter afternoon several years ago, a flooded field along Illinois Plant Road near the Lacassine Refuge Pool was the setting for one of the most . . .

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Books and Other Resources to Enhance Your Wetland

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pp. 169-175

The following sections list books, articles, videos, and Internet sites that offer additional information on topics and issues presented in this guide. The books include recent works, as . . .

Bibliography

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pp. 177-181

Index

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pp. 183-189


E-ISBN-13: 9781603442718
E-ISBN-10: 1603442715
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603440332
Print-ISBN-10: 160344033X

Page Count: 208
Illustrations: 182 color photos. 5 maps.
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: Gulf Coast Books Series, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

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Subject Headings

  • Mississippi River Delta (La.) -- Guidebooks.
  • Gulf Coast (La.) -- Guidebooks.
  • Chenier plains -- Louisiana -- Gulf Coast -- Guidebooks.
  • Landscapes -- Louisiana -- Gulf Coast -- Guidebooks.
  • Wetlands -- Louisiana -- Gulf Coast -- Guidebooks.
  • Natural history -- Louisiana -- Gulf Coast -- Guidebooks.
  • Gulf Coast (La.) -- Environmental conditions.
  • Coastal ecology -- Louisiana -- Gulf Coast.
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