Nathan Stubbs

USGS updating wetlands maps

by Nathan Stubbs

The U.S. Geological Survey National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette is preparing topical maps of coastal Louisiana wetlands, a project expected to provide a clear picture of the state’s recent coastal land loss. The mapping is being done in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetland Inventory. In an article in today’s Daily Comet, USGS geographer Christoper Wells says the topical maps provide much greater detail than satellite imagery can. The last time this type of wetlands cartography was done was 1988.
Those years make a big difference in a place like Terrebonne, where the environment is changing every day, said parish Coastal Restoration Director Leslie Suazo. ‘The more current information we have, the better,' Suazo said. 'When you set aside even the average annual wetland loss rate, and just think about the extreme events of hurricanes Rita and Ike, we’ve made significant losses since 1988.'