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Coastal Louisiana Becomes an Important Outdoor Classroom for College Students

Coastal Louisiana Becomes an Important Outdoor Classroom for College Students

11 March 2013

Have you ever driven over the Mississippi River and thought to yourself in awe, Im driving over one of the largest rivers in the world? Have you ever really thought about the greatness and importance of the Mississippi River to Louisiana as well as to the remainder of the country? The Mississippi River (MR) is the 3rd largest river in the world and it drains 41% of the continental United States. Through sediment deposition over the last 7,000yrs, the MR built coastal Louisiana, has fueled the highly productive ecosystems surrounding coastal Louisiana and is a large contributor to the US economy (through fisheries, commerce and trade).

Last week, marine science graduate students from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) visited strategic locations along coastal Louisiana to learn about the geology of the area and the influence of the Mississippi River firsthand from local experts. Sites of interest were:

  • the Old River Control Structure,
  • the Morganza Spillway,
  • the Wax Lake Outlet near Morgan City with Dr. Sam Bentley (LSU),
  • Trinity Island,
  • the saltmarshes of Cocodrie and
  • Point-aux-Chenes residents to learn about the effects of wetland loss on a local community.


In the next few weeks, students from 12 different universities and colleges throughout the country will be visiting LUMCON to learn about geology, biology, ecology, restoration, sustainability and culture with the Mississippi River and coastal Louisiana as the backdrop. Coastal Louisiana is truly an environmental wonder that future scientists throughout the country are learning to appreciate firsthand.