Soil, Conservation Experts to Reflect on Hurricane Katrina Disaster

MADISON, Wis., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Two years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, soil scientists and conservation leaders will share lessons learned at the International Annual Meetings of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) Nov. 7-8 in New Orleans at the Morial Convention Center

The symposium, “Katrina Disaster and Sustainable Coastal Development: An Integrated Perspective and the Role of Land and Water Sciences,” includes more than 10 speakers on Nov. 7 from 1:45 to 3:45 pm and Nov. 8 from 8 to 10 am.

“Hurricane Katrina provided the scientific community with an unparalleled opportunity to guide both ecosystem restoration and the design of measures to protect lives and properties from violent natural events,” says Charles Groat, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, who opens the event.

On Nov. 7, the symposium will focus on the storm’s impact on the land, the role wetlands play, and the sociopolitical and scientific processes of land and resource management.

“Rapid degradation of the Mississippi River delta and climate change are placing the physical and socioeconomic sustainability of coastal Louisiana in doubt,” says speaker William Jenkins, Louisiana State University. “We must pursue aggressive coastal restoration or face the daunting implications of inaction.”

Another aspect to understanding and preparing for environmental disasters is sharing information about resources. Speakers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, will address the importance of generating interpretative maps with soil suitability data and training response personnel to properly interpret soil information related to the disaster.

On Nov. 8, the symposium will take a broader look at hurricane patterns, global climate change and Louisiana’s ongoing recovery and future. Steven Hamburg, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, Brown University, will discuss the impact of a storm’s frequency and intensity on ecosystem resistance and resilience. Chris Renschler, University of Buffalo, will address the potential of integrated natural resources management as a tool for managing natural disasters.

“Field studies, remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems and process-based environmental models are increasingly used in combination to support decision- and policy-making in natural resources or natural hazards management,” Renschler says. “Communication is key among all of these areas.”

Rattan Lal of Ohio State University will concentrate on opportunities for soil carbon sequestration to mitigate the ongoing effects of global warming.

More than 4,000 scientists will be in attendance at ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meetings Nov. 4-8. For information, go to

Complimentary registration is offered to credentialed journalists, PIOs, and NASW members. Register in advance by contacting Sara Uttech, On site, present a photo ID and business card or other credentials in the Press Room, R06-R09, Convention Center. For information, contact Sara Uttech at 608-268-4948 through Nov. 2 or 608-772-0217 during the meetings.

ASA (, CSSA ( and SSSA ( are educational organizations helping their 11,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy, crop, and soil sciences by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

First Call Analyst:
FCMN Contact:

Source: American Society of Agronomy; Crop Science Society of America; Soil Science Society of America