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Hurricane Katrina gave the USA an urgent reminder of the extent and value of Louisiana's wetlands when daily discussions of subsidence and sedimentation revealed how much ordinary coastal processes affect humanity – and vice versa. Now, with a native Louisiana naturalist as a guide, readers can learn how best to enjoy, appreciate, and protect this vanishing landscape.
Part natural history and part field guide, The Louisiana Coast takes readers across one of only three major chenier plains in the world to the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest river basin swamp on the continent, and through the network of bayous, natural levees, cypress swamps, marshes, and barrier islands of the Deltaic Plain.
Color photographs illustrate chapters on vegetation, wildlife, and the rich human culture that defines Louisiana. With the intimate knowledge of one whose life has been shaped by this remarkable environment, author Gay M. Gomez leads visitors to nature trails, wildlife refuges, Audubon sanctuaries, and parks. A visitor's guide at the end of The Louisiana Coast features destinations open to the public for wildlife watching, photography, and even hunting, fishing, crabbing, and cast netting.
Everyone who lives in or visits Louisiana and anyone interested in the conservation, ecology, natural history, and geography of the region will appreciate Gomez's exploration of the land, its people, its resources, and its vulnerabilities. The Louisiana Coast will encourage readers to share the author's love for this vital, distinct, and beautiful place.
Gay M. Gomez is associate professor of geography at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. A professional nature guide and longtime activist and champion for the preservation of the state's wetlands, she has served on the board of directors for the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and the Louisiana Ornithological Society, and on the advisory board for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' White Lake Wetland Conservation Area.
"Many environmental enthusiasts, tourists, and retirees saw the devastation coastal Louisiana experienced by the ravages of Katrina and Rita in 2005, and will want to come to Louisiana to see the impact, recovery and challenges for themselves [...] For this reason the work is timely and should be popular to the general public [...] this work can bring to life the tremendous wetland resources that still exist and are of major value to the public [...] Louisiana still has tremendous natural resources along its vast coasts, even after Katrina and Rita, and the nation should come and visit so that more can be done to restore and sustain this unique national treasure."
– Paul D. Coreli, Louisiana State University
"Gay's descriptions of different parts of the southern coast are excellent and give a great understanding of the history and changes that these lands have experienced over the years."
– Louisiana Ornithological Society
"I believe fervently that experts should write for the lay public, and in a way that will stimulate their excitement and help them understand the relevance of the resource in their lives. Dr. Gomez has done that with this book. Her chosen topics, style of writing, and her clarity of writing without getting bogged down with details will ensure that The Louisiana Coast will be highly successful [...] There are several books that discuss Louisiana's wetlands, but all are much more technical or prescriptive in their approach."
– Robert A. Thomas, Loyola University New Orleans