Tourin’ the Bayou. An ecosystem in danger.

During a recent road trip to New Orleans (yeah, I drove from Massachusetts to New Orleans, I know I’m crazy), my friend Phil and I had the pleasure of taking an Airboat tour of a local bayou about 45 minutes south of NOLA.

 

An airboat skims across the Bayou.
An airboat skims across the Bayou.

On our trip, our captain who is a local cajun who’s family settled the area many generations ago, took us out on his private family property to educate us on the local ecosystem and its inhabitants.

 

A baby alligator rests in the airboat captain's hands.
A baby alligator rests in the airboat captain’s hands.

 

A major issue is that 16 square miles of Bayou are lost every year. Due to invasive species such as the Nutria eating away at the root systems of plants holding the ecosystem intact, just to name one of the many threats. It’s a major problem – and even though a lot of research is doing into slowing the erosion, solutions are not being discovered fast enough.

Flowers on the Bayou
Blooming flowers on the Bayou
An adolescent Alligator swims by our boat looking for a hand out.
An adolescent Alligator swims by our boat looking for a hand out.

 

You often read articles online that describe how the earth is at risk of rising water levels eventually consuming landmass, but the projections never really make much of an impact. ie. “By 2050 the atlantic ocean will consume 1 inch of [beach name here]” – we all know it’s a concern, but we often think “that’s so far away from now.”

Down here, it’s noticeable. The bayou is eaten away a rate of 1 [American] football field per HOUR. That’s absurdly fast, and scary. Not only is this lush ecosystem in danger of disappearing, but it poses a major threat to the nearby communities, including the big easy.

To learn more about the bayous, their importance, and this tragedy, take a gander at these fine articles:

 

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