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Environmental Protection in Louisiana


Picture of Louisiana
Picture of Louisiana

The major conservation activities in Louisiana are centered on flood control and prevention, reforestation, and the preservation of wildlife resources. The federal agencies active in the field of conservation in the state are the Forest Service, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. State agencies involved in conservation include the wildlife and fisheries commission, the department of conservation, and the forestry commission. Floods on the Mississippi River and its tributaries have periodically caused extensive damage in Louisiana and other states.

To control flooding, an extensive system has been created along the Mississippi, in Louisiana and especially in states farther upstream, to keep the river within its banks during periods of high water. The artificially created levees must continually be strengthened and increased in height because the silt carried by the river that once spread over the land during time of flood is now continuously settling on the bottom of the river and building up the riverbed. In many areas the riverbed has been so built up by these silt deposits that it is now several feet higher than the surrounding land.

Soil erosion is a problem in Louisiana only in the hilly northwest, but continuous cotton cultivation has resulted in a general reduction in soil fertility throughout the state. Where serious soil erosion has occurred, the land has been taken out of cultivation and converted to pastureland or forest land.

In less severely eroded areas, contour plowing, strip-cropping, and other soil conservation practices are used to help reduce runoff. To restore soil fertility, crop rotation has replaced continuous cotton cropping.

It is estimated that almost 2 million hectares (5 million acres) of land in Louisiana was reforested from the mid-1940s to the mid-1990s. Most of the new trees have been planted on privately owned commercial forest lands. In addition, some areas of public land have also been reforested. Numerous species of wildlife are now on the United States endangered or threatened list. These include the state bird, the brown pelican, as well as red-cockaded woodpecker, American alligator, bald eagle, and various turtles.

In 2008 the state had 10 hazardous waste sites on a national priority list for cleanup due to their severity or proximity to people. Progress was being made in efforts to reduce pollution; in the period 1995–2000 the amount of toxic chemicals discharged into the environment was reduced by 15 percent. "Louisiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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