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How Hurricane Katrina Redrew the Gulf Coast
Hurricane Katrina’s dramatic fallout was, at its core, a human-induced disaster. Stronger storms have hit the U.S. Gulf Coast before and after Katrina's August 29, 2005, landfall in Louisiana, but this was the tempest that broke through levees to reveal cracks in disaster response plans.


To a certain degree, the same can be said for Katrina's ecological impacts. When the Category 3 storm barreled ashore ten years ago, it not only forever changed the lives of humans, but also those of the plants and animals in the neighboring wetlands, in part because of human interference with the landscape.


Perhaps the most obvious and immediate ecological fallout from the storm came in the form of destroyed habitats. “We lost thousands of acres of wetlands. It went from ‘you had it’ to ‘it's not there anymore’ overnight,” says Shane Granier, a biologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed 220 square miles of wetlands.


 
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The Ocean Cleanup Project - Boyan Slat, a 19-year-old engineering student, is behind The Ocean Cleanup project, which he proposes to clean up the plastic clogging the planet’s major bodies of water in five years.


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