During Christmas break, my mother and I took my boys on a nature hike. The trail was “across the bayou,” just a few miles from home. (In South Louisiana, there are three directions: up the bayou, down the bayou, and across the bayou).
This part of the country has a beauty all its own.
The Louisana wetlands, made up of swamp, marsh, and bayous, are home to a variety of plants and animals. (To you Aussies, bayous are just like billabongs). The wetlands function as a natural water filtration system. Louisiana’s salt marsh barrier islands serve as a natural speed bump for hurricanes. According to LaCoast.gov, “approximately 40 percent of the coastal wetlands of the lower 48 states is located in Louisiana.
This fragile environment is disappearing at an alarming rate. Louisiana has lost up to 40 square miles of marsh a year for several decades – that’s 80 percent of the nation’s annual coastal wetland loss. If the current rate of loss is not slowed, by the year 2040 an additional 800,000 acres of wetlands will disappear, and the Louisiana shoreline will advance inland as much as 33 miles in some areas.”
I wrote my picture book, OVER IN THE WETLANDS, last summer, focusing on the unique plants and animals that make up this place.
I hope, if WETLANDS ever sells, to contribute a portion of sales to local wetland restoration efforts.
Here’s to the restoration of Terrebonne Parish and its unique, fragile beauty.