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Can Bugs Cause Coastal Erosion?

Louisiana coastal erosion

The Louisiana coast is in grave danger as it faces threats of rising seas, oil spills, hurricanes, and now insects. In 2016, scientists discovered a pest known as a Scale killing off the reeds that hold the coast together. This is endangering oil wells, destroying fishing grounds, and causing land loss.

Scales are particularly hungry for Roseau cane, which is a reed that holds together some of Louisiana’s most fragile stretches of coastline. Their appetite for these valuable plants has transformed massive strands of marsh into open water and empty mudflats.

Roseau cane is famous for its tolerance to salt water, as well as its land-strengthening and soil-building abilities. It is one of the only growing barricades we have left to prevent land loss, and these pests are posing a very dangerous threat to it. Over half of the Delta’s National Wildlife Refuge lies in the roots of Roseau, and it must be protected at all costs.

Scales are as small as a grain of rice, and get their name from their fish-scale resemblance. Unfortunately, no one knows how or when these pests first arrived, nor do we have a means to stop them just yet. 

How can something so small do so much damage?

Once a Scale works its way into the Roseau stalk, it taps the sap, which drains the strength of the cane until it ultimately dies. Scales have now spread into the lower Mississippi River Delta, destroying everything in their path and undoing decades of efforts spent restoring our coast.

Louisiana State University scientists estimate that Scales have damaged nearly a quarter of a million acres of coastland so far. Because these pests are relatively new, there is not enough available information for scientists to develop a way to stop this, and no government agency has been appointed to help just yet. 

How Stan’s is helping coastal erosion

At Stan’s Airboat & Marsh Excavator Service, we work tirelessly around the clock to make sure that our precious wetlands are protected. We use only environmentally-friendly tactics when in the field, and offer land reclamation services. We construct levees, floodbanks, stopbanks, embankments, and dikes to protect tidal wetlands and freshwater found all over the United States. To learn more about our efforts to stop coastal erosion, contact us today!

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