Rich in Culture and in Natural Resources, Southern Louisiana is a land of largely untold beauty. The Mississippi River over many thousands of years has deposited the richest soil in North America along its diverse, once ever changing, path. This rich soil has nurtured the growth of rich marshlands, grasslands and large tracks of Bald Cypress and Live Oaks. These provide a lush habitat for diverse birds and wildlife. Natural oak ridges, Middens, and Salt Domes provide the critical initial habitat for migratory birds as they arrive on the gulf coast; migrating from Central and South America. Marsh grasses and more recently the rice fields of Southwestern Louisiana provide critical habitat for migratory waterfowl, hosting one of the largest concentrations of waterfowl in the country each winter. The coastal region hosts numerous birds such as the state bird, the brown pelican. The bayous and inland lakes provide the habitat for numerous wading birds such as Herons, Egrets, Ibis, and the magnificent Roseate Spoonbill. The Atchafalaya River Basin, North America's largest Swamp ecosystem, provides a home for Beaver, Muskrat, Eagle, and Osprey.
Unfortunately this land of beauty is in great peril. Channeling of the Mississippi River has eliminated the annual flooding, halting the growth of sediment naturally lost each year. An invasive rodent, the nutria, imported from Central America for its fur, denudes the marshlands with its voracious appetite. Most of the old growth Cypress has been cut for lumber and now is being cut to be made into bark mulch. Navigational canals have been dredged with little regard for the potential for salt water intrusion; killing much of the vegetation critical for maintenance of coastal marshes. The effects of rising sea levels is putting additional stress on the coastal region. All of these factors, combined with the natural cycle of large tropical storms, pose a significant risk to Louisiana's inhabitants as well as destroying the beautiful natural environment.
This book is intended to document with its photographs, some of what is being lost, with hope that in some small way it may make a difference.