Northern Gulf of Mexico (NGOM) Ecosystem Change and Hazard Susceptibility

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Page 1: Inflight photos of coastal Louisiana and Mississippi, taken during NGOM meeting in New Orleans, January 24 - 26, 2007

Photography and Captions - Jim Flocks (USGS)
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Aerial photo of Cat Island, Mississippi

Aerial photo of Cat Island, Mississippi, part  of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.  The island took the full impact of Hurricane Katrina, which completely eroded the shoreline and breached the island in several locations.  Underwater oblique sand bars seen in the photo may be a sign that sands which had eroded offshore during the storm are returning to the island.

Aerial view of downtown New Orleans from south of the Mississippi River.

View of downtown New Orleans from south of the Mississippi.

Numerous man-made canals

Numerous man-made canals dissect the wetlands of St. Bernard Parish.  The canals provided conduits for Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge, which reached 20 feet in depth at this area.  Marsh balls in the foreground and scours in the background are enduring signs of damage to the marsh from the surge.

Mississippi River Gulf Outlet shipping canal in St. Bernard Parish.

The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) shipping canal in St. Bernard Parish.  The canal provides a direct shipping corridor from the Port of New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico, bypassing the much longer Mississippi River route.  The canal is controversial in that it also provides a pathway for saltwater intrusion into the surrounding wetlands and Lake Pontchartrain.  During Hurricane Katrina, storm surge swept up the canal, breaching the protective levees and flooding interior wetlands and New Orleans.   Infilling during the storm effectively closed the canal to large ship traffic.

Schooner harbor, in the Chandeleur Islands is the summer home for the Pelican, a floating fish camp

Schooner harbor, in the Chandeleur Islands is the summer home for the Pelican, a floating fish camp (small structure in photo) maintained by Mark Stebley.  The fish camp, adjacent to an old oil industry access canal, provides a bunk house, galley, and freshwater for local fishing charters and scientists visiting the remote islands.  In 2006, the Pelican served as the basecamp for USGS and UNO scientists during a bathymetric and geologic survey of the islands. (USGS Soundwaves Newsletter, August. 2006).   Various versions of the Pelican had endured past hurricanes that passed nearby, such as Georges in 1998, and Ivan in 2004.  The fishcamp would have been no match for Hurricane Katrina, and was towed to safety prior to Katrina’s landfall.

Open water areas in the brackish-water marsh

Open water areas in the brackish-water marsh in St. Bernard Parish are lingering signs of storm-related damage.  Return flow from Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge eroded vast areas of the marsh, creating long, linear scours across the landscape.


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