Job well done, LUMCON

By Editorial
Tri-Parish Times; February 15, 2008

With little fanfare, it was announced that Terrebonne Parish’s Dr. Nancy Rabalais, executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) was chosen to receive the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography’s Ruth Patrick Award.

The celebration will take place in June at ASLO’s meeting in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The award honors outstanding research by a scientist in the application of basic aquatic science principles to the identification, analysis and/or solution of important environmental problems.

In Rabalais’ case, the award recognizes her courageous struggle to have policies implemented to reduce the size and effects of hypoxia, especially as it relates to the Gulf of Mexico‘s "dead zone."

Since 1979, scientists have been studying coastal Louisiana from LUMCON’s headquarters in Cocodrie. The site provides coastal laboratory facilities to state universities and conducts research and education programs in marine sciences.

Because of the upper end of Terrebonne Bay‘s close proximity to the Mississippi River delta, area estuaries and coastal wetlands, it is an ideal launch point for such research.

Based on findings generated from local research, scientists are closer to understanding the causes and, equally as important, ways to stem the threats to our coastal and marine resources.

In addition to studying the Mississippi River-Gulf of Mexico continuum, LUMCON researchers are currently involved in projects involving coastal productivity, living resources, human and industrial impacts on our wetlands, coast and offshore environments, as well as wetland and barrier island loss in the Louisiana coastal zone.

The work is crucial to the state’s future.

The 2005 storm season heightened awareness of erosion problems, but Louisiana‘s waterways and coast were in danger long before Katrina became a hurricane.

The work Dr. Rabalais, the faculty and staff of LUMCON are providing will ensure Louisiana‘s title as a "Sportman’s Paradise" for years to come.

Let’s hope Congress continues to recognize the value of a job well done and provides the needed full funding to keep the studies going strong.