By: Stephanie Moothart (Former CNHP Intern)
I was an intern with CNHP in spring 2016 and I am now working as a Master’s graduate student at Louisiana State University examining the effects of salinity and sulfur on cypress growth in the Joyce Wildlife Management Area. It is an area that has a history of seawater intrusion from the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Canal. This canal is now closed and there are future plans to create diversions to help flush out remnant seawater. There are also plans to replant cypress in some areas. I hope to be able to assist in targeting the plantings to areas were cypress are likely to survive by examining the soil and corresponding tree growth efficiency.
I have been collecting my samples for the past three months and while it is fun to boat around, walking the swamps can be arduous with every step sinking you up past your knees making it slow going. The tree cores are collected at normal diameter (18 inches above the last buttressing) and so are often done from a ladder. There is a lot of wildlife around including alligators, snakes, spiders, leeches, nutria and a lot of really cool birds I had never seen before like swallow tailed kites. I am loving my time at LSU working in forested wetlands. I am glad for the experience my time with CNHP gave me which helped to confirm that natural resources was something I wanted to pursue further.