Title page for ETD etd-11012011-145108

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Bowers, Kathleen Melissa
URN etd-11012011-145108
Title A Look at the Integration of Wetlands and Hazard Mitigation Planning in Coastal Louisiana
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Environmental Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Reams,Margaret Committee Chair
Gall,Melanie Committee Member
Wascom,Michael Committee Member
  • wetland ranking
  • marsh
  • content analysis
  • word clouds
  • multi-criteria analysis
  • parishes
  • coast
Date of Defense 2011-10-07
Availability unrestricted
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.

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