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Field Trips

Field trips are planned to assess the impacts of Hurricane Katrina; investigate the effects of sea-level rise on the Louisiana coastal plain, including the Mississippi Delta in the southeast and the Chenier Plain in the southwest; and explore the Cane Bayou by canoe in order to better understand the area geology and ecology, as well as the environmental issues affecting the wetlands and Lake Pontchartrain. Anyone interested in proposing a field trip should contact Field Trip Chair Alex Kolker.

All fieldtrips begin and end at the Chateau Bourbon Hotel in New Orleans.

During the Meeting

  1. Subsidence and Sea-Level Rise in Coastal Louisiana.
    Two-day trip. Sat.–Sun., 26–27 March.
  2. Hurricane Katrina — What Happened? The Geology of the Katrina Disaster in New Orleans.
    One-day trip. Sun., 27 March. Departs 8:30 a.m.: returns 3:30 p.m.
    Cost: US$50. Max.: 25
    Stephen A. Nelson, Tulane University.

    On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina passed just to the east of New Orleans. Storm surge from the hurricane caused catastrophic failures of the levee system designed to protect New Orleans form such a storm and resulted in flooding of about 80% of the city. This field trip examines the levee failures at several locations and discusses the role of the geological and historical factors that led to the levee failures and devastation.

  3. Canoe Field Trip to Cane Bayou, St. Tammany Parish.
    One-day trip. Sun., 27 March. Departs 11 a.m.: returns 5 p.m.
    Cost: US$100
    Dinah Maygarden, University of New Orleans.

    This is a leisurely paddle on a local favorite bayou which offers abundant opportunities for bird and wildlife watching as well as getting to know our wetland habitats. Cane Bayou is a quiet, sheltered, slow moving waterway on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain bordered by Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge and Fontainebleau State Park. From our launch, the bayou winds for about a mile through upland forest, remnants of cypress swamp (diminished in recent years due to saltwater intrusion), intermediate marsh and shoreline habitats. There are also excellent examples of Tchefuncte era “middens” or shell mounds, approximately 3000 years old. The area is rich in wildlife, including many species of birds feeding in the varied habitats. Docile alligators may be spotted, keeping their distance from paddlers. The shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain is shallow and when conditions are right, paddlers can enjoy a meal anchored on a sandbar about 100 yards offshore and dip net for small critters hiding in the grass beds! The trip will be led by environmental science educator Dinah Maygarden who will provide background and information about the Pontchartrain estuary, its geology and ecology and environmental issues affecting the wetlands and Lake Pontchartrain.


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