Louisiana Delta estuary

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by proj02
Last updated 7 years ago

Environmental Studies

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Louisiana Delta estuary

Marine Bio/ Per. 4

Sofia Zabala and Willow Wittliff

Louisiana Delta

A piping plover is a small, migratory shorebird. Piping plovers live in wide, flat, open, sandy beaches. They often nest in small creeks or wetlands. The plovers eat insects, spiders, and crustaceans. They migrate to the Northern United States in the spring and summer to breed and in the fall, migrate south. They are in danger of becoming extinct because their habitats have been lost to residential developments and flooding. They are very sensitive to human disturbance and eventually, abandon their nest

The American alligator used to be on the brink of extinction but is now thriving. The species is more than 150 million years old. The live exclusively in the freshwater rivers, swamps, lakes, and marshes of Florida and Louisiana. They are well adapted swimmers. Males average about 10-15 feet in length and can weigh 1,000 pounds. Females can grow to a maximum of 9.8 feet. Hatchlings are 6-8 inches long with black and yellow stripes. Juveniles are a popular menu item for predators including birds, raccoons, bobcats and even other alligators. Adult alligators are predators critical to the biodiversity of their habitat. They feed mainly on fish, turtles, snakes, and small mammals. However, they are opportunists, and a hungry gator will eat just about anything, including carrion, pets and, in rare instances, humans.

The Louisiana black bear is smaller than other black bears and has a longer, more narrow and flat skull. They are bulky mammals with long black hair and when fully grown, can weigh more than 600 pounds. The Louisiana black bear lives in large, wide areas of bottomland hardwood habitat. Their population has been reduced to less than 1,200 bears! They lack suitable habitats, disappear, and the population plummets. The Louisiana black bear is an extremely threatened species!

The Louisiana Delta is a flourishing estuary located in Louisiana where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico. It is built up of deposits of alluvium. 40-45% of the wetlands in the Southern states are located in Louisiana because of the drainage gateway to the Gulf of Mexico. The coastline is very marshy and only extends inland for 30 miles and from there turns into solid ground. There is a lack of trees because of the high flood levels. Hurricanes Rita and Katrina devastated the estuary and decimated much of the wildlife. Government and NGOs have bumped up their efforts to reverse marsh subsidence and land loss. The federal government has made a series of projects to be carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that are aimed at restoring the estuary.

The spider lily is originally from China and was then introduced to Japan and later the United States, specifically Louisiana. It flowers in the late summer or fall usually in response to heavy rainfall. This is where it gets the nickname “hurricane lily.” The bulbs are very poisonous. They are mostly used in Japan in rice paddies and at their homes to keep mice and other pests away

Swamp rose is a native shrub to the United States that grows up to seven feet tall. It is fragrant and usually pale pink or white. The rose is abundant in marshes and swampy habitats, along ditches and streams. It blooms for 6 to 8 weeks once a year. The fruit the rose produces is red and fleshy.

Common cattails are found along the shore of marshes, ponds, lakes, and rivers. They can grow almost ten feet tall. The flower has two parts; a brown cylinder which is female and a yellow spike which is male. They are usually found growing together in a dense mass. Cattails have rhizomes which are roots that creep and grow new shoots quickly. This makes the thick stands which are great shelter for the animals living among them. Red-winged blackbirds, mallards, Canadian geese, frogs, and salamanders make their homes among cattails. Muskrats eat them and use them to build their houses. Other animals like white-tailed deer, raccoons Eastern cottontails, and turkey use cattails as cover. They flower from May to July.

Sources“Mississippi River Delta”. National Wildlife Federation.org. Web. 18 March 2014. “Piping Plover”. Conserving the Nature of America. Fws.org. Web. 18 March 2014. “American Alligator”. Animals.NationalGeographic.com. Web. 18 March. 2014.

Charadrius melodus

Rosa palustris Marsh

Lycoris radiata

Ursus americanus luteolu

Typha latifolia

Alligator mississippiensis


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