Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)
Yellowbelly Slider (Trachemys scipta)
Starrush Whitetop (Rhynchospora colorata)
Clapper Rail Chicks (Rallus longirostris)
Virginia Rose (Rosa virginiana)
Seashore False Bindweed (Calystegia soldanella)
Places like this were once thought of as wastelands - only good for dumps, filling in or draining. We now know that they are extremely productive, multi-layered, extraordinarily complex ecosystems. Plants here position themselves through natural selection according to how much water and how much salt they can withstand. By their very nature wetlands act as giant sponges, offering protection from flooding, as well as filtering what flows from the land. These characteristics and this complexity make places like this a precious gift - irreplaceable if destroyed. Which is why the current disaster in the Gulf is so horrible, and decades after the flow from the pipe is finally stopped, this tragedy will not be over. Until we no longer choose to organize our economy around petroleum, drilling anywhere remotely near something so precious must be done with the fullest measure of caution and safety, no matter the cost. Anything less should not only be criminal, it should be considered immoral.