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Environmental Overview - Regional Description of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Contributors: Penland, McCarty, Beall, Maygarden
Urbanization is evident throughout the Basin and has led to drastic changes in land use patterns and major impacts on important natural resources. In the western region of the Basin, East Baton Rouge Parish has grown rapidly during the past 30 years. Extending eastward along U.S. Interstate 12 from Hammond to Slidell, rolling woodlands, bottomland hardwood forest, wetlands and small farms have been converted to a suburban setting of houses, shopping centers and small businesses. In contrast, petrochemical plants, bulk cargo facilities, grain elevators and refineries have turned the banks of the Mississippi River into an industrial corridor from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. Flanking the plants are subdivisions and commercial developments covering areas that were once sugar cane fields. Finally, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes have defined their expansion boundaries with the construction of an extensive hurricane levee protection system to the south. Much of this area is at or below sea level, requiring constant drainage and flood control. Many of these flood control projects have caused significant environmental damage.
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