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Water Management Associations
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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War on Weeds Loses Ground - With its jumble of leaves and pointy, green, flower spikes, the plant known as pigweed or palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) isn’t much to look at. But to farmers in the southeastern United States, it is a formidable foe. Having evolved the ability to withstand glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular herbicide Roundup, it now flourishes unchecked alongside crops such as cotton and soya bean that are genetically modified to be glyphosate tolerant.

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