Sunday, June 28, 2015

History of LA Coast


History Sheds Light on the Future

Wednesday, June 23

Dr Richard Condrey shared his study of the historic gulf coastline and its lessons for repairing it. 

At the June general meeting of the Baton Rouge Group of the Sierra Club members and visitors learned  the history of the gulf coast. His study looked at maps like this one and sailors’ journals dating back to the 1700s. After studying the explorers descriptions and navigation records, he could overlay the old maps on a current map.  Dr. Condrey concludes that the coastline has been shrinking at approximately the same rate since the 1800s! Hurricanes and oil exploration haven’t altered the rate of shrinkage in our coastline. The change is the same now as it has been for the last 200 years. 

An early explorer’s advice to the French Court on establishing settlements along the Mississippi River turns out to be very wise. He advises that settlements along the Mississippi River and its Delta should be designed to accommodate natural flooding. Settlements should be built to avoid damage by these floods and allow the deposit of silt to preserve the soil and marshes that provide a source of food for the settlers. The records of the disappearance of oyster shell beds on the coast in the early nineteenth century indicate that early levees and drained wetlands have been causing the deterioration of the coastline since the nineteenth century.

Since this lecture covered only thru the Nineteenth Century, Dr Condrey has more to share.  In a follow-up lecture he will share the rest of his research.

Information on future meetings as well as outings, including Dr Condrey's next next talk will be announced on this blog and the BR Group webpage,

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