Craig E. Colten's research while affiliated with Louisiana State University and other places

Publications (62)

Article
Full-text available
Efforts to manage the Mississippi River have produced hydrologic, geomorphic, and social change. Sediments have been the focus of contentious litigation; and engineers in the mid-nineteenth century argued for returning sediment to the city to raise land. Levees, built of sediment, protected the city and also guarded the powerful planter class. By f...
Article
Full-text available
This paper addresses the emergence of concern with hazardous wastes and the legal liabilities attached to them long before the first federal legislation in the U.S. explicitly using the term; a simultaneous search for marketable by-products during the first three quarters of the twentieth century as a means to decrease the volume of wastes while al...
Article
Adaptation is a key concept in long‐term human adjustments to climate change. Despite the centrality of human decisions and actions in adaptation, much of the climate change literature is thin on humanities and social science which are the primary approaches for understanding human activity. This situation is particularly pronounced in Louisiana's...
Chapter
The Mississippi delta is one of the largest and best studied of global deltas, and like all deltas. The Mississippi rebuilt the modern MRD (Mississippi River delta) across the continental shelf of the northern Gulf of Mexico over the past 7000. years during a period of relative sea-level stasis. Delta formation was enhanced by a hierarchical series...
Article
Full-text available
For more than half a century, scientists in Louisiana (USA) have been mapping coastal land loss. Cartographic depictions were initially important to expose potential loss of off-shore oil revenue tied to the retreating shoreline. For the last 40 years, attention has shifted to issues related to preserving a valuable ecology and protecting the coast...
Article
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Louisiana faces extensive coastal land loss which threatens the livelihoods of marginalized populations. These groups have endured extreme disruptive events in the past and have survived in the region by relying on several resilient practices, including mobility. Facing environmental changes that will be wrought by deliberate coastal restoration pr...
Chapter
Europeans colonists in Louisiana sought to detach their urban settlements from the invasive floodwaters of the Mississippi River. Early economic success of the French colony relied on cypress and rice – commodities that were reliant on annual inundations and wetland conditions – and thus regular flooding was beneficial across much of the landscape....
Chapter
The biophysical environment of coastal Louisiana has never been static since the last Ice Age, and since their arrival humans have continually adapted to changing conditions. This chapter reviews the historical adaptations to the floodprone site where New Orleans is situated, including a plan to raise the land level of portions of the city. In part...
Article
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This paper considers the contrasting and deliberate efforts to reshape the Tluvial futures of two important American cities which essentially re-wrote their riparian heritages. Chicago’s aggressive extension of its commercial reach through its artiTicial connection with the Mississippi has become embodied in its environmental, political, and litera...
Article
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Resumo Louisiana (USA) faces a serious coastal land loss crisis and has embarked on an ambitious plan to restore its littoral landscape. Yet the very population that depend on this environmental setting for their traditional livelihoods will be the mose immediately impacted and they are not able to participate in the planning as they would like. T...
Article
Louisiana's coastal residents have endured centuries of hurricanes and decades of oil spills. Locally based, inherent resilient practices have enabled them to persist in place. This paper documents the evolution of actions taken by Louisiana's coastal residents that constitute effective resilient activities in the aftermath of disruptive events. It...
Article
New Orleans, Louisiana USA is on the banks of the massive Mississippi River and its history is inextricably linked to this water that serves as a vital transportation corridor and also presents an ever-present flood hazard. This text examines the use of levees to offset the risk of flooding and how that fixed infrastructure has contributed to popul...
Conference Paper
Coastal Louisiana is populated by a diverse population with Native American, French, African, Asian, and Spanish backgrounds. Over the centuries, most of these residents have become marginalized to some degree from the state’s political leadership. Each has also developed natural resource dependent economic practices that make them particularly vul...
Article
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A number of governmental agencies have called for enhancing citizens' resilience as a means of preparing populations in advance of disasters, and as a counterbalance to social and individual vulnerabilities. This increasing scholarly, policy, and programmatic interest in promoting individual and communal resilience presents a challenge to the resea...
Article
The flooding caused by hurricane Katrina in 2005 acted as a catalyst for an abrupt change of the demographic landscape of the New Orleans metropolitan area. New Orleans city proper has been a shrinking city for the last half century, but its population loss was balanced by expanding suburbs until 2005. Based on a comparison of the newly released 20...
Article
The persistence of communities along Louisiana's coast, despite centuries of natural and technological hazard events, suggests an enduring resilience. This paper employs a comparative historical analysis to examine "inherent resilience," i.e., practices that natural resource-dependent residents deploy to cope with disruptions and that are retained...
Article
When state legislatures in the American South defined navigable waters in the early nineteenth century, they followed prevailing notions that streams capable of carrying commerce were in fact navigable and also that such routes constituted public highways. State actions to define and maintain navigable waters led to environmental transformation and...
Article
As part of the 2007 Wrigley-Fairchild award session during the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, former Geographical Review Editor Paul Starrs dramatically unveiled the ten most influential articles to have appeared in the journal (Starrs 2007) (Table I). Among them are true landmarks; and what caught my attention was the n...
Article
A key concept in resilience studies is that human societies can learn from hazard events and use their accumulated social memory to better contend with future catastrophes. This article explores the deliberate referral to historical records complied after Hurricane Betsy in 1965 and how they were used to prepare for tropical storms at the time of H...
Article
Water is an essential resource in all societies, but presents some challenges in wetland or riverine settings. Europeans and Africans who settled in the lower Mississippi Valley and across what became the American South encountered indigenous ideas about water that sometimes overlapped with transatlantic notions, but sometimes contrasted their own....
Article
Scholars of the South have frequently portrayed the region’s residents as guilty of environmental abuse. These accounts rely on the actions of state governments and have largely ignored popular reaction to water pollution. A review of key conflicts over stream pollution across the South reveals variations, but also a decided tendency of Southern...
Article
Vulnerability to extreme events is shaped by both physical and social factors, and Hurricane Katrina brutally exposed that fact in New Orleans. Historically, low-income Irish and Italian populations suffered when floods washed over the Crescent City. Modifications in the structural defenses to floods and shifting demographics since 1950 altered the...
Article
Hurricane Katrina exposed a landscape of tragedy in New Orleans in the wake of the storm, concentrations of poverty and minority populations and disproportionate suffering among those groups prompted discussions about environmental injustices. Federal policies seek to foster environmental justice, but all too often they respond inadequately to long...
Article
Full-text available
Four propositions drawn from 60 years of natural hazard and reconstruction research provide a comparative and historical perspective on the reconstruction of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Decisions taken over its 288-year history that have made New Orleans so vulnerable to Katrina reflect a long-term pattern of societal response to hazard ev...
Article
Historical research and reporting in support of litigation should not strain professional ethics. Lawyers expect expert witnesses to offer sound and reasonable opinions that are supported by the evidence. Although attorneys must be advocates, good ones realize that experts should not stretch their conclusions to fit the case. Litigation can place r...
Article
Numerous locational advantages spurred and sustained several decades of industrial development along the lower reaches of the Mississippi River in Louisiana. In recent years, some of the attractive features of the region have lost their luster and decline has set in. Much of the industrial growth occurred when abundant oil and natural gas reserved...
Article
Cities have been a prominent source of water pollution over the years. Historians have argued an instrumental conception of water-use that developed in New-England-sanctioned environmental abuses in the interest of economic development. This interpretation assumes both a geographic and temporal consistency in policy responses to water-quality degra...
Article
National parks share many obvious landscape characteristics. One of them goes largely unnoticed—infrastructure to provide water, sewerage, and garbage services. This paper traces the gradual adoption of romantic-era concepts about shielding human intrusions in parks from public view by Park Service landscape designers during the early twentieth cen...
Chapter
The rediscovery of more than 20,000 tons of toxic wastes buried in a Niagara Falls suburban school yard in the late 1970s captured public attention and directed the media spotlight on hazardous wastes, an issue industry experts and government officials had been grappling with for decades. Congress had already passed legislation in 1976 (Resource Co...
Article
T he Mississippi River sweeps by New Orleans in a giant arc carry-ing ocean-going freighters that tower above the old Vieux Carré, more commonly known as the French Quarter. Noisy tugs share the river as they push strings of barges against the mighty current. Docks, shipyards, and river-dependent industries line the busy waterway traf-ficked by the...
Article
Before 1900, Blacks typically occupied the swampy portions of New Orleans, Louisiana. As the city embarked on an ambitious Progressive Era public works project to improve drainage in the 1890s, it began to overhaul environmental conditions. This process, if carried out according to rational engineering principles, would serve the entire city equita...
Article
For more than two centuries, New Orleans' builders struggled to expel the soggy wetlands from within their city. Early settlers saw little value in the swamps after they had harvested the virgin cypress forests and marshes held no value as urban real estate. After more than two centuries, the drive to enlarge the drained territory reversed itself....
Article
In spring 1995, the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) announced plans to “delist” over 24,000 sites from its inventory of potential Superfund sites known as CERCLIS (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Information System). The Clinton Administration hoped that by taking sites that had a very low probability of...
Article
After 20 years, Superfund has evolved from a risk-based, technically oriented, litigation-driven site cleanup program to an effort that places greater emphasis on negotiated settlements, voluntary cleanups, and community involvement. The USEPA's environmental justice initiative reflects this adjustment and sometimes presents unexpected difficulties...
Article
Environmental litigation in the USA seeks to establish the historical state of knowledge about the potential for groundwater contamination resulting from industrial waste disposal. To reconstruct developments that allowed a practical understanding between land disposal and groundwater pollution, this paper isolates key concepts that reveal knowledg...
Article
Civil engineers have played a central role in reshaping the physical environment during the past two centuries. Their accomplishments were made possible in no small measure by an ability to assess local hydrologic conditions and design structures to withstand the forces of water. Recent assertions that engineers had little comprehension of groundwa...
Article
Civil engineers have played a central role in reshaping the physical environment during the past two centuries. Their accomplishments were made possible in no small measure by an ability to assess local hydrologic conditions and design structures to withstand the forces of water. Recent assertions that engineers had little comprehension of groundwa...
Article
Abraham Lincoln is prominent in the business names across central Illinois. A review of Lincoln place and business names serves as the source to delimit the vernacular "Land of Lincoln." Lincoln as a town name is common in Illinois, although the state is not prominent as part of the overall nationalistic place-naming enterprise. Business names asso...

Citations

... Still, there may be observations and theoretical reflections that also have explanatory value in other contexts. In recent academic thinking, there is also discussion about nature conservation versus understanding ecosystems as co-evolving and dynamic systems [17,103,104]. ...
... The warming of the planet causes sea level rise and strengthens tropical storms and hurricanes, factors that further erode already-vanishing coastal wetlands. 13,14 For coastal villages, towns, and cities, the loss of land means the deterioration of fish and wildlife habitat as well as the loss of an important first line of defense against hurricanes. The disaster is not going unnoticed in Louisiana. ...
... However, the land loss pace has gradually slowed down, according to a series of cartographic depictions of Louisiana land cover changes, due to the implementation of coastal protection policies, wetland building, and restoration projects [16]. Roy et al. [12] analyzed nearly 4800 Landsat images and found that the land loss rate fell from nearly 90 km 2 per year between 1983 and 1986 to no more than 30 km 2 per year between 2010 and 2013. ...
... Raising islands has been undertaken traditionally to help reduce exposure to flooding, such as Halligen islands, Wadden Sea, which contain small mounds on which dwellings were constructed (Grimm, Wöffler, Bachmann, & Schüttrumpf, 2012). Traditionally, land raising has been used for the creation of new land (e.g., for ports) or to protect against floods, such as in swampy conditions on waterfront cities in the United States (Colten, 2018a(Colten, , 2018b, or more recently in east Asia for industrial or residential reasons (Martín-Antón, Negro, del Campo, López-Gutiérrez, & Esteban, 2016). However, the reasons for its use today have evolved. ...
... Scholars and community advocates are increasingly concerned about social justice and human rights implications raised by government funding for buyouts and community resettlement. Recent studies on relocation have considered uneven exposure to environmental risks, differential access to resources, place-based relations and attachment to place, environmental injustice, community organizing, local knowledge, and healing from historical and ongoing injustice, and human rights (Ajibade & Siders, 2021;Bronen, 2011;Colten et al., 2018;De Vries & Fraser, 2012;Dundon & Camp, 2021;Elliott, Brown & Loughran, 2020;Koslov, 2016;Maldonado et al., 2013;Maldonado et al., 2021;Marino, 2015;Shearer, 2012;Siders, 2019). Additionally, Indigenous leaders have criticized "managed retreat" as an inherently top-down continuation of the colonial dynamics that ravaged ecosystems in the first place. ...
... As coastal planners and scientists increasingly rely upon technical knowledge in the form of numerical models to justify the selection of specific risk-reduction techniques, residents often use their past experiences and perceptions of increased threat as a justification for locally rejecting many of the model results [1,2]. The epistemological gap that exists between technical knowledge and local knowledge has reinforced, for many coastal residents, a fundamental distrust of government at all levels. ...
... The Plow that Broke the Plains traces the impact of human and natural forces on the Great Plains-how sodbusting, wind and drought combined to strip away friable soils. While its narration style is dated, the images of "baked out, blown out, and broke" soils and people still have emotional impact today, and the film remains a subject for discussion by modern environmental historians (Lovely 1993;Dunaway 2007). ...
... When hardships such as deteriorating environmental conditions or a large storm place an undue burden on residents, many people report turning to their social networks for assistance (Adger et al., 2015;Aldrich 2012;Bodin and Crona, 2009;Folke, et al., 2005;Tompkins and Adger, 2004). This is a common response in coastal Louisiana communities (Colten et al., 2012;Colten et al., 2015). ...
... If this is the case, the indistinguishable PAH compositions of the two sites may be representative of background levels of PAH pollution, as southern Louisiana has long been subject to local and regional oil spills. (Colten et al. 2012). ...
... Thus, this paper brings growth and shrinkage into the research system at the same time, and analyzes the development of resource-based cities from a long time series, which is more in line with the volatility characteristics of urban shrinkage in China [10]. In recent years, the focus of empirical research has gradually shifted from shrinkage phenomena to motivational mechanisms, mainly focusing on the analysis of the causes of urban shrinkage in economic, social, resource and environmental dimensions [20][21][22]. The content has gradually been deepened, but research on the quantification of the motivation and evolution mechanism of urban shrinkage, remains relatively insufficient. ...