Discussion of the project

I made my animation about the problem of coastal erosion on the Louisiana Gulf Coast. The construction of levees following the Civil War cut off freshwater from the coastal marsh ecosystem. In the absence of freshwater flooding, the salt content of the water in the marsh built up over time. The increased salinity kills coastal plant life unable to adapt. When the plants died, their roots no longer held the soil, which then washed out the Gulf of Mexico. The emergence of satellite photography in the late 1960s showed the loss of much land along the Gulf Coast. I teach about this phenomena in my geography course each year because it is a major ecological problem for the United States. The loss of the wetlands represents the destruction of the spawning grounds of many species that live their adult lives in the Gulf of Mexico. The wetlands serve as a windbreak that slows down hurricanes and mitigates damage from storms in New Orleans and the surrounding area. Estimates of the potential financial losses caused by coastal erosion, in the long run, are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. I will use this animation in class to teach a concept that I had been acting out with my hands as the roots of the plants releasing the soil into the Gulf (Marshall, The Lens, and ProPublica, 2014).

Marshall, B., The Lens, and ProPublica. (2014, August 28). Losing ground: Southeast Louisiana is disappearing, quickly. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/losing-ground-southeast-louisiana-is-disappearing-quickly

Click on the image below to download the SWF animation file.

CLICK HERE:  Coastal erosion and plant death on the Louisiana Gulf Coast.