UNIV 110: 4:00 MW
18 November 2009
Biological Affects of Hurricane Katrina
As the violent winds and rain decreased, there was a huge impact left behind on the ecosystems in Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina managed to wipe out most vegetation and wildlife. Vegetation was killed due to the immense amountof salt water on the land. "Nothing was alive. It looked like someone dropped an atomic bomb. All you could hear were cats crying. It was a real eerie feeling (Paul Trahan)." No greenery could be seen for miles. Everyone’s front lawn was covered in thick mud that eventually dried. The few trees that remained standing were stripped of their leaves and soon began decaying. The swamps and marshes in Louisiana, which contained much of the states wildlife, suffered the worst after the hurricane. Some local species lost half or even more of their total population.
The main long lasting issue that New Orleans is faced with is the salt water left behind. The land is able to recover from flooding a lot better when it is flooded with fresh water. Louisiana was hit with immense amounts of salt water along with silt deposits brought by the waves (Beaulieu). This problem created is called ‘soil salinization’. Excess salts in the root zone cause plants’ roots from obtaining water from the soil, which lowers the amount of water the plant can get. This causes a huge problem when trying to bring back vegetation to the area because the soil soaked in too much salt for the plants to grow.
Hurricane Katrina took a toll on New Orleans’ biological aspects. The question is still there whether global warming had anything to do with impacting the severity of the storm. However, studies are showing that only time can tell and there is not enough information to back it up. Hurricanes generate four forces which can cause damage to the biological resources of a region: strong winds, tornadoes, storm surges, and rain (Sheikh). Each one of these forces...