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Title: Adaptation to the Dynamic Coastal Areas Affected by the Atchafalaya Basin Outlets : An Historical Geography Analysis, South Central Louisiana
Authors: Davis, Donald W.
Castille III, George J.
Morrissey, Gerald.
Robinson, Kevin.
Keywords: Coast changes
Atchafalaya River (La.)
Atchafalaya River Watershed (La.)
Atchafalaya (La.)
Publisher: United States. Army. Corps of Engineers. New Orleans District.
Abstract: Coastal Environments, Inc. conducted an historical geography of the central Louisiana coast. This investigation included historical research, fieldwork, interviews of residents, and report preparation. The investigation was designed to examine human responses to physical change along that part of the Louisiana coast between Bayou Lafourche and Freshwater Bayou Canal, an area that includes the mouth of Atchafalaya River. A geographical approach was used, emphasizing documentation of historical settlement over the last 150 years, physical diversity, and economic adaptation. Based primarily on physical characteristics, the study area was divided into three regions: Terrebonne Basin, Lower Atchafalaya River, and Teche-Vermilion Basin. The primary focus of the study was identification of the major environmental changes within the study area during the twentieth century and analysis of human adaptations to those changes. A secondary focus of the investigation was the procurement of photographic images depicting the range of physical and cultural settings occurring within the study area. Selected illustrations from the report are to be integrated into a summary report designed for public consumption. The investigation revealed a great diversity in both physical and cultural settings. The physical changes range from rapid land loss in Terrebonne Basin to rapid land gain at the mouth of the Atchafalaya River. These changes are due to natural processes and to human alteration of the environment. Primary human influences include construction of flood prevention levees, creation of the Atchafalaya Floodway, and canal construction. Despite rapid land loss within the eastern portion of the study area, settlement patterns reflect the human tendency to gravitate toward areas of economic activities. Construction of hurricane protection levees and pump drainage districts have created enticing zones of settlement within flood prone areas. For settlement along the Louisiana coast, the economic draw has been dominated by two distinct natural resources: 1) fisheries and 2) oil and gas extraction. In recent years, wetland recreational pursuits have increased such that recreational camp construction is now the most noticeable cultural change along the coast. As part of this analysis, future trends were examined relative to potential changes in the physical landscape, the economy, and to settlement patterns. Alternative solutions were offered for anticipated physical and cultural changes. One of the most relevant findings is that existing policies encourage settlement in areas where flood or storm damage risk is increasing.
Description: Technical Report
Rights: Approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited
Size: 595 pages / 910.37 MB
Types of Materials: PDF
Appears in Collections:Technical Report

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