Compendium of Coastal, Wetland, and Restoration Information

Coastal Erosion

Educator's Guide to the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary – Activities (BTNEP)
The BTNEP Educator’s Guide to the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary is a comprehensive, downloadble source of information and activities for formal and nonformal educators. Grades K-12.

  • We are Losing Our Wetlands (Activity 1-5) - Students visualize how much of our wetlands is being lost with the aid of measurement and calculations. Grades 3-4.
  • Coastal Erosion: Making Sense of it All (Activity 1-10) - Students create concept maps explaining the effects of coastal erosion on Louisiana. Students research information and orally present their findings. Grades 3-5, 8.
  • Demonstration Destruction (Activity 1-11) - Students create a model of a coastal area and demonstrate a negative effect on the environment. The students are divided into groups, each group taking a factor that causes coastal erosion. Grades 3-5, 8.
  • Investigating Habitat Change (Activity 1-12) - Mapping skills are developed as students collect data and determine the percentage of land loss over several periods of time. Grades 5 & 8.

Claude & Clawdette’s Estuary Adventure – Activities (BTNEP)
Students finish a story about boats and coastal erosion using this activity page.

Haunted Waters – Video Clips (BTNEP)
An award winning documentary on the cultural, geologic, and environmental history of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary System.

  • Settling of the Land (Clip 4) - Describes the building of Indian mounds in the time of Jean Lafitte, the presence of native wildlife, and the settling of German immigrants and West African slaves with help of the Native Americans.
  • Levees (Clip 7) - Explains why levees were built and how they prevented further flooding like the Flood of 1927. Wendell Curole, Dr. Davis, and Mark Schexnayder show physical evidence of what levees did for the sugar cane farmers in lower Louisiana.
  • Flooding and Sugarcane (Clip 8) - Clip 8 begins where Clip 7 ended, adding information about the hydrologic system of lower Louisiana and the problems of living in low lying areas. Students are encouraged to think critically about how levees changed the landscape and how fertilizer affects our waterways.
  • Oil Business (Clip 13) - Details the detrimental impacts of oil industry activities on the health of coastal wetlands.
  • Death by Sea (Clip 17) - Examples of the effects hurricanes can have on the Barataria-Terrebone ecosystem.
  • Erosion Rates (Clip 18) - Describes what is happening to our Barrier Islands and shows how quickly the land forms that protect us from hurricanes are disappearing. A map is shown of how Louisiana will look in the year 2040.

EstuaryLive! – Video Clips (BTNEP)
Investigates the rich bounty of organisms in the Barataria-Terrebonne ecosystem, the delicate balance between the natural environment and human impacts, and the estuary’s importance to the nation.

  • Levees (Clip 11) - Mr. Wendell Curole explains the importance of the levees and why they were built.
  • Oil (Clip 12) - Kerry St. Pé briefly introduces the importance of the local offshore oil industry.
  • Salt Water Intrusion (Clip 15) – Why are stable salinity levels important in different parts of the estuary?

Rescuing the Treasure – Video Clips (BTNEP)
A sequel to “Haunted Waters, Fragile Lands,” this video describes the importance of estuaries and restoration techniques.

  • Land Loss - 2040 Map (Clip 2) - Explains the wetlands as our living resource, what an estuary is and what BTNEP is. Also shows a map of Louisiana’s land loss from 1950 until 2040.

EstuaryLive! – Activities (BTNEP)
Investigates the rich bounty of organisms in the Barataria-Terrebonne ecosystem, the delicate balance between the natural environment and human impacts, and the estuary’s importance to the nation.

  • Louisiana's Coastal Plain: A Look at Land Loss - PowerPoint slides show progressive land loss from 1839-2020. Grades 4-12.
  • BTNEP: Changes Over Time - Students answer questions about changes in the Golden Meadow wetlands based on their analyses of comparative land use maps. Grades 6-12.
  • Salt Marsh Activity Book: Why Are We Losing Salt Marsh? - Color the picture and answer questions about progressive land loss. Grades 2-6.
  • BTNEP Coastal Land Loss - Colored map printout shows land loss from 1839-2020. Grades 4-12.

Washing Away – DVD (LPB/PBS)
A documentary about the loss of Louisiana's coastal wetlands produced in August of 2007. “Washing Away” tells the stories of six Louisianans and how the storms affected the coastline, their land and their livelihoods. These people share their stories and their knowledge of the larger impacts of coastal land loss on the environment, wildlife, the economy, industry, culture and communities. Lesson plans supplement the documentary. For a copy of this program visit us at the above URL, send email to, or call the LPB at 800-973-7246. Cost is $25.

MarshMission – CD
Two narrated PowerPoint presentations and a Flash movie about Louisiana’s vanishing wetlands. To request your copy of the CD, send an email to <>.

  • Vanishing Wetlands by C.C. Lockwood (approx. 27 min.)
  • Changing Landscape by Rhea Gary (approx. 27 min.)
  • The Rise and Disappearance of Southeast Louisiana by Dan Swenson (7 min.)

Bayou Lafourche: The Longest Street in the World – Video Clips (BTNEP)
This documentary captures the history, culture, lifestyle, environmental troubles and emerging ecological solutions of the 100-mile bayou that weaves through the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary.

  • Saltwater Intrusion on the Bayou (Clip 3) - Effects of intrusion on freshwater supplies.
  • Losing the Wetlands (Clip 1) - How changes in coastal wetlands directly affect the lives and livelihood of the people who live there.

Spirit of the Estuary: Using Art to Understand Ecology – Activities (BTNEP)
A multi-disciplinary curriculum that addresses wetland environmental issues through the integration of fine art, language art, science, and social studies. Grades 6-12.

  • Dialogue: Disappearing Wetlands (Activity 2-13) - Students analyze David Bates’ painting, Grassy Lake, generating and interpreting a list of what they observe in the painting; improvise a dialogue between two people in a canoe in a swamp; write a dialogue about the disappearing wetlands in Louisiana; research the wetlands of the BTNE for the purpose of creating a script that will be shared with an audience; critique, edit and revise each others' work; learn techniques needed to create a tape of their dialogues; use the Internet to find an appropriate audience with whom to share their taped dialogues; make a fact page or brochure to provide additional wetlands information to their audience; and record daily reflections about the process in their journals.

Lafourche Parish: From the Beginning – Activities (BTNEP)
A comprehensive guide to Lafourche Parish, its history, culture, and resources. Activities will help students better understand this important Louisiana parish. All files are in Adobe format and are downloadable from this site. Grades 6-12.

  • What is Happening to Our Coast - Describes the coastal environment and how it changes under natural and human influences.
  • Components of Coastal Land Loss - States broad environmental and economic consequences when land turns to water or land is covered with water due to subsidence, sea level rise, flood control structures, canals and navigation channels, storms and wave action, herbivory, and development.
  • Oh Where Have All the Animals Gone? - Students choose a wetland animal about which to create an information brochure.
  • Restoration History - History is outlined in order to understand how Bayou Lafourche received funds for restoration projects.
  • A Quote From Mark Twain - A gem of wisdom from the great author.
  • Interpreting Twain's Quote Activity - Students express their responses to what is happening today in south Louisiana.

Wetlands & Wonder: Reconnecting Children with Nearby Nature – Video (EPA)
This 14-minute video from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discusses loss of wetlands and its effect on our connection to the natural world. The video includes streaming text for the hearing impaired.

The Dead Zone – Lesson Plan (EPA)
An inquiry-based lesson on what causes hypoxic conditions that produce the “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. The maps from this pdf are an excellent resource for studying the watershed issues. Grades 9-12 but may be adapted for a younger audience.