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Field Trips

Floating Peat Marshes of Jean Lafitte National Park

Sunday, 17 February 2013
08:00 to 17:00 - Off-site

The Barataria Preserve of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is a 20,000 acre expanse of subtropical peat marsh and swamp forest, located just 15 miles south of New Orleans. The Preserve is situated in the upper, low-salinity reaches of an interdistributary basin of the Mississippi River Delta. The floating peat marshes have an atypical hydrology with subsurface water exchange and limited inundation. The substrate consists of root-derived organic matter, and is fully buoyant, moving vertically in response to water level fluctuations. Scrub-shrub thickets colonize and persist on some of these floating marsh habitats. Cypress swamp borders the emergent marshes along the low flanks of relict distributary ridges of the Mississippi River. Bottomland hardwoods dominate the infrequently flooded ridge-tops and spoil banks. Signs of declining forest health and encroachment to marsh due to regional subsidence and relative sea level rise are visible. The tour will include a boat ride through Preserve waterways, an optional short walk on a floating marsh and wax-myrtle thicket with extensive Sphagnum spp. ground cover, and a walk on a boardwalk trail chronicling the transition from marsh to bottomland hardwood forest in space. We may see alligators, nutria and possibly poisonous snakes, so come with cameras! We will see plenty of mosquitoes. Note: Bring calf boots, rain gear, mosquito repellant. Tour includes lunch.

Participants should meet just prior to 08:00 outside the Convention Center in front of Hall E. Busses will pick up and drop off from the bus lane on Convention Center Boulevard in front of Hall E.

Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station, Lake Maurepas

Sunday, 17 February 2013
08:00 to 17:00 - Off-site

Attendees will be taken by bus from the Convention Center to the Turtle Cove (https://www.selu.edu/acad_research/programs/turtle_cove/directions/index.html) Classroom on Galva Canal (approximate 45-minute drive) for an introductory presentation on environmental issues in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. Attendees will be ferried to Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station for a tour of the facilities and a self-guided boardwalk tour into the Manchac marsh. The next bus stop will be at Middendorf’s Restaurant located on Pass Manchac. (Lunch cost is not included; attendees will be responsible for purchasing their own lunch). After lunch attendees will be taken on a tour of an ongoing wetland restoration project in the Joyce Wildlife Management Area north of Pass Manchac. The field trip will conclude with a tour of Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge .

Participants should meet just prior to 08:00 outside the Convention Center in front of Hall E. Busses will pick up and drop off from the bus lane on Convention Center Boulevard in front of Hall E.