New and returning graduate students paddled across the disappearing wetlands of Cocodrie, La. on Aug. 31 as part of an annual graduate student field trip, led by Dr. Bob Rohli and Dr. Kristine DeLong.
Students drove to the farthest extent of Louisiana’s coast then embarked on a two-hour long canoe trip through disappearing marshlands. Alligators splashed at the kayaks and swam under canoes, while students discussed the history of the area’s artificial levee system.
In the afternoon, students boarded small speed boats to visit Trinity Island, one of Louisiana’s fastest eroding barrier islands. A guide explained barrier island processes, including longshore drift and translocation. The guide also explained why coastal Louisiana needs the islands to protect the coastline from storm surge.
“The islands act sort of like a speed bump (for storm surge),” said Nicole Cotton, Marine Education Instructor at LUMCON. “It’s like we’re fighting a losing battle trying to save these islands, but we really need them.”
The tour was hosted by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), a research facility that serves universities across the Gulf Coast.
Photos courtesy of Robin Cobb and Rebekah Jones.