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Threats to estuaries

Discussion of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment

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Threats to estuaries

Postby pirategrl01 » Sat Aug 02, 2008 11:34 pm

There are many threats to estuaries like; infilling, shoreline development and marinas, pollution and discharge of sewage.
I am having trouble trying to find information for an essay on the threats of shoreline development, marinas, pollution & discharge of sewage. It would be helpful if anyone can help me with this as i live in New Zealand and need information specific to New Zealand.
If anyone can lead me to a good site or have general knowledge of it, that would be very helpful.
Thanks
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Postby alextemplet » Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:51 am

Another threat to consider is the re-routing of inland waterways. Here in Louisiana, the government got the bright idea about fifty years ago or so to dig a canal connecting the Mississippi with the Atchafalaya River. The result was that much of the Mississippi's current was diverted down the Atchafalaya, flooding hundreds of square miles of marshlands and, since the Mississippi was no longer carrying as much sediment due to the diverted flow, coastal erosion around the Mississippi delta increased dramatically.

I don't know if anything like that every happened in New Zealand, or where to look for information if it did.
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Postby pirategrl01 » Sun Aug 03, 2008 5:20 am

You must really love estuaries :)
Thanks for the ideas!
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Postby alextemplet » Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:07 pm

It helps when you live right in the middle of the largest estuary in North America, and the government seems to make a hobby of figuring out how to destroy it even further.
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Postby pirategrl01 » Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:32 am

Ahh. So what does your govt do (to danger the estuaries) exactly, other than re-routing?
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Postby alextemplet » Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:49 am

Funding for conservation is far below what it needs to be. I think I mentioned in the other thread how New Orleans might have been saved from Hurricane Katrina had the saltwater marshes not been so badly destroyed. And of course President Bush (in his infinite wisdom) had the audacity to say on national television that no one could've seen this coming. Bull. We who live here have been knowing this would happen for decades, and we've been warning Washington that something had to be done. But of course no one listened.
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Postby pirategrl01 » Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:15 am

Do you have conservation groups taking an interest in the situation?
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Postby alextemplet » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:06 pm

We have plenty but the problem is funding. For example, a lot of people here have been trying to persuade the government to expand the levee system along the Mississippi River for as long as I've been alive, warning that if nothing was done a major hurricane would cause massive devastation. Yet the government ignored such warnings until after Hurricane Katrina had already flattened New Orleans.

There's also a lot of interest groups that think it would be a bad idea to try to conserve the environment, and that also complicates matters. Especially considering that politicians don't usually see things in terms of "good" and "bad" but in terms of "What can get me the most votes?"
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Postby pirategrl01 » Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:59 am

True. We dont have many big problems with the govt here. Wow about the groups that disagree with you, what are their reasons for being against it?
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Postby alextemplet » Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:22 pm

Many people are opposed to conservation strictly on a cost basis, and funding is a major problem (and yet the state legislature just recently voted itself a 400% raise; can you say "corruption"?). Other concerns are effects on business and industry, and I'm not too convinced by these. Offshore oil drilling, for example, actually helps the environment here because the underwater structure of the wells provides an excellent environment for marine life. In New Orleans there is an aquarium that has a massive exhibit dedicated to showing how marine organisms utilize oil platforms for their habitat; it's fascinating. So interestingly oil is one of the few areas where business and environmental concerns go hand-in-hand, hence Bush's recent decision to lift the ban on drilling in federal waters.

Agriculture is a potential threat, especially as big as the sugar cane industry is around here, but farmers generally don't intrude into the swamps and marshes since those areas are rarely suitable for agriculture. Sugar cane farming thus doesn't effect the local environment to any considerable degree.

Hunters are the largest group of conservationists around here, as they have the most contact with the natural environment and also the biggest desire to conserve it. Most of the laws we have protecting the environment were the result of lobbying by hunters.

Perhaps the strangest anti-environmental argument I ever heard was from an evangelical Christian who was convinced that the end of the world and the second coming are definitely going to happen within this century, and his reasoning is that there's no point trying to protect an environment that's about to be destroyed anyway. Sadly, evangelicals are a growing force in politics around here.
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Re: Threats to estuaries

Postby MichaelXY » Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:58 am

We have plenty but the problem is funding. For example, a lot of people here have been trying to persuade the government to expand the levee system along the Mississippi River for as long as I've been alive, warning that if nothing was done a major hurricane would cause massive devastation. Yet the government ignored such warnings until after Hurricane Katrina had already flattened New Orleans.


This seems like a state issue, why should Californians or New Englanders have to help support out of state problems (Emergencies not included such as Katrina)? In South California there major water supply problems. It is being handled at the state level. Of course there are issues with the colorado river which involves multi-states in which case it becomes a federal issue to arbitrate, but at the end, each state must foot their own bill.
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Postby alextemplet » Sat Aug 09, 2008 5:43 am

You are right, each state must foot its own bill. The problem here is that Louisiana politics has a well-deserved reputation for being among the most corrupt in the nation (hence Governor Jindal's recent ethics reforms). If our state legislature can vote itself a 400% raise but we can't find enough funding to protect the very soil upon which we live, we have a serious problem.

That said, the federal government is not without its share of blame. After the levees were breeched following Katrina, Army helicopters were dispatched to drop sandbags into the breaches to stop the flooding. They were called off in mid-flight because President Bush didn't want to spend federal money. I'm sorry, but I think in the given situation, saving lives was much more important than who was paying the chopper pilots' salaries. The result: New Orleans flooded and lots of people died that could've been saved. Thank you, Mr. Bush.
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