Estuarine Science arrives at a time when our views about estuaries and how human activities interact with them is changing. The growing understanding of estuaries feeds a movement toward an active approach to their management. This movement, in turn, has spawned a number of monitoring and management programs, each of which is focused on a different coastal region.
The Estuaries and Clean Waters Act of 2000, signed into law on November 7, authorizes $225 million over 5 years just to coordinate the numerous federal and nonfederal estuarine restoration programs now underway in the United States.The stakes are high. For example, failure to reverse decades of wetland loss in coastal Louisiana promises inevitable disaster for the one million residents of New Orleans. At an average elevation of 2.4 meters below sea level and sinking, New Orleans relies on the shrinking ∼50 km expanse of wetlands that lie between it and the Gulf of Mexico to absorb the storm surge from hurricanes that frequent this part of the coast.