- What is a wetland environment? And, why should we preserve them?
"Wetlands are transition environments between dry land and open water. They are places where standing water is present for all or part of the year, and, because of this, they support vegetation that is adapted to saturated soil conditions. In the
Photo by Gay Gomez at the Cameron East Jetty Park and Pier, Camero, LA
2. In your book, The Louisiana Coast: Guide to an American Wetland, you describe the coast as a "place of interaction among land, people, and ideas." Can you tell us more about this connection between the land and local people? Why is this connection unique to the
"People are an integral part of the
3. Over many years, hurricane damage, erosion, human land development, and the byproducts of oil exploration have taken their toll on the coast. What are the specific, long-term implications of the recent BP oil spill with which you are most concerned?
"I’m concerned about the presence and effects of both oil and toxic dispersants in our wetlands, on our beaches, and in our marine environment. All these habitats are interconnected; foul one habitat and the others will also be affected. I fear the contaminants will have long-lasting effects on our fisheries and of course on the entire food web. I’m also wondering how the presence of oil will affect water temperatures in the
4. You also discuss coastal restoration at length, in your book. The environmental devastation associated with this spill seems to be massive and widespread, with broad implications. What can individuals do now to aid both in recovery from the spill and long-term restoration?
"Individuals can stay informed about the spill and can learn about its impacts on coastal wetlands by exploring sites like the coalition to restore coastal
5. Tourism will, no doubt, be affected by the spill. Will it be safe for families to visit the coast this summer? If so, what are some of your favorite, must-see spots?
"I believe tourism is still a possibility, especially eco-tourism. It is still possible to visit many wildlife refuges and coastal communities. Some of my favorite spots in