National Geographic : 2004 Oct
THE BATTLE AGAINST land loss has many fronts. The National Guard each year drops discarded Christmas trees from New Orleans into nearby Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in an attempt to halt erosion. More substantial breakwaters built on Raccoon Island (below left) slowed but failed to stop shoreline loss of 60 feet a year. That's bad news for tri colored herons (right), whose nesting population has plummeted in the state since the 1970s.