Identifier

etd-11012011-145108

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Sciences

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Due to the destruction of the damaging hurricanes of 2005, Katrina and Rita, more effort has gone into the rebuilding and prevention of future disasters along the Louisiana coast than ever before. This research focuses on the use of wetlands, in the ten coastal parishes of Louisiana, as a mitigation effort aiding in the protection of coastal communities. Using content analysis and decision support software, a wetland ranking was created that represents how wetlands are utilized and protected within each parish. Criteria gathered from the plans include how many times wetlands were mentioned, collaboration with the state and other agencies, and the occurrence of wetland mitigation projects within the plan or parish. This ranking shows Lafourche Parish having the highest wetland involvement and St. Bernard Parish the lowest. The next objective was to determine what factors may influence the wetland ranking. Collected data included 2000 socioeconomic, 2005 wetland, and 46 year hazard data for the ten parishes which was run against the wetland ranking in the SPSS program. The number of hazards the parish experienced over a 46 year period was the only factor shown to significantly impact the wetland involvement. Other interesting relationships include the percentage of wetlands in the parish and number of hazards along with hazard data and voting percentages. This research brings together protective and restorative measures in regards to wetlands along the coast. It is the first step in seeing how communities are adapting hazard mitigation plans to the specific needs of each area and opens the door to future research in which wetlands may be utilized as a way to decrease the vulnerability of coastal populations.

Date

2011

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Reams,Margaret

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