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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick: How to Stop Another Katrina (for the Week of Feb. 11, 2007)

February 2, 2007

Q. Dear Twig: Can what happened to New Orleans, the damage from Hurricane Katrina, happen again? If it can, what can we do to stop it?

A. First question: Yes. What Katrina did can happen again. Why?

Because hurricanes happen. Naturally.

Because parts of New Orleans sit below sea level. (Making it easier for them to flood.)

Because far fewer wetlands lie between the city and the Gulf of Mexico. (Lots more used to. But people drained them.)

And because certain buildings, canals and levees failed or made things worse.

Second question? Do what three top scientists suggest: Rebuild the lost wetlands. Run homes and neighborhoods on wind and solar energy. Cut the need for cars in the city. And get tons of residents in on the planning so it ends up fair for everyone.

Sound cool? Read more here:


P.S. The scientists come from Ohio State, Louisiana State and the University of Vermont.

Notes: The scientists are Bill Mitsch, director of Ohio State's Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park and a Distinguished Professor of Natural Resources, Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering; John Day Jr., Distinguished Professor Emeritus with Louisiana State's Coastal Ecology Institute; and Robert Costanza, Gund Professor of Ecological Economics and director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont. They teamed to write "Creating a Sustainable and Desirable New Orleans" in the journal Ecological Engineering. Also read more here:

About this column: "Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick," a free public service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences - specifically, of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension, both part of the College - is a weekly column for children about science, nature, farming and the environment. The reading level typically rates at grades 3.5-4.5. For details, to ask Twig a question, and/or to receive the column free by mail or e-mail, contact Kurt Knebusch, CommTech, OSU/OARDC,1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691,, (330) 263-3776. Online at

Kurt Knebusch