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Over half of New Orleans is below sea level, and it used to be entirely above it. What is happening, how is it impacting the lives of those in Louisiana, and what can be done about it?

Tune in for the answers, and learn:

  • Why water levees speed up the rate of organic material decomposition, and why it’s problematic
  • Various ways in which land loss and subsidence occurs
  • How trees offer resistance to storm surges

Michael Hopkins is Assistant Director of Pontchartrain Conservancy (PC), a nonprofit organization whose aim is promote environmental sustainability and address serious environmental challenges in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin, a 10,000 square mile watershed in Louisiana.

Over the past 100 years, more than 2,000 square miles of coastal Louisiana have disappeared, detrimentally impacting the lives of so many.

Hopkins is a geologist whose focus at PC has been on coastal monitoring and restoration. Much of his work centers around subsidence, which is the gradual sinking of land.

In this region of Louisiana, subsidence contributes significantly to various environmental issues. And while it is a natural process in a delta, the situation is this area is unique because it has been cut off from the Mississippi River, which means there is no source of new sediment to maintain land elevation.

Hopkins explains the details of his work and the restoration strategy at PC, which involves the science of bringing back ridges, marshes, and swamps, as well as a process called sediment diversion to combat land loss.

Press play for the full conversation and learn more at

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