Gulf of Mexico
Along the coastline of Louisiana, artificial islands provide habitat for fish and wildlife and help lessen the impacts of wind and waves. Photo courtesy of Martin Ecosystems

LA - Mending Coastal Marshes

Recycled plastic bottles get a new life as artificial islands on the Louisiana coastline.

When Nicole Waguespack describes the Louisiana coastline, she thinks back to the early 1980s. In her memories, she’s still a little girl standing in the hot sun on the bank of a small canal near her daddy’s hunting and fishing camp. Hundreds of birds she can’t yet name fly overhead—tiny piping plovers, goofy-looking brown pelicans, and oystercatchers with their brilliant eyes so red they appear bloodshot.

Her siblings are there too, their fishing lines disappearing into the canal’s murky water where fish, shrimp, and crabs hide from the green nets of slow-moving boats. There’s thick, itchy grass up to her knees, mud between her toes, and marshland that stretches for kilometers.

Now, 35 years later, if Waguespack were to go back to that same spot, there would be no land for her to stand on. There’s just open water and sunken memories. And Leeville, her childhood home in Lafourche Parish, is just one of hundreds of communities lost to flooding across the US Gulf of Mexico coastline.

Read the full story here.