New Orleans, Louisiana (WiredPRNews.com) — The second oldest wildlife refuge of the country, a series of the barrier islands located in the southeast of New Orleans, is endangered of being lost forever unless it is restored, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The hurricanes have battered the Chandeleur & Breton Islands for the last four years and Hurricane Katrina gave them a pounding reducing its mass by half. As per a new report from the agency, the nation is required to invest more money on the restoration of the island. The report mentioned that current management is not sufficient to manage the rate of loss it is facing.
These islands shape an arc in the Gulf of Mexico southeast of marshes and swamps surrounding New Orleans. The islands are far away and can be reached only via aircraft or boat. It is also a significant nesting ground for different kinds of birds, namely brown pelicans, black skimmers and terns. However, the islands may vanish unless an effective restoration program is carried out.
Two years have passed since the hurricane and the shoreline continues to sink away. A recent survey has suggested that dunes may be forming which could be a positive indication.
On October 4th 1904, President Roosevelt designated the islands as a national wildlife refuge for the cease of destructive hunting of birds. In 1915, there were reports that people were living there with including a school and growing trees. It used to be a continuous band of land in which shrubbery and high dunes backed up the shores. Now, it has become a patchwork including low-lying bars of sand rising above the water.
The refuge manager, Jack Bahannan, said that the distance between the islands and the shores is great and the restoration process can prove to be very expensive. Mark Schexnayder, a coastal adviser from the Sea Grant Extension of Louisiana State University, said that the state and the nation need to save the islands, despite the cost required to do so.