The Lake Pontchartrain Basin in southeast Louisiana is an estuarine watershed encompassing New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and wetlands that are an integral part of Louisiana's unique culture. In recent decades rapid growth and poorly planned development have resulted in a decrease in water quality and habitat loss, especially in St. Tammany Parish on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. In 1989, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF), an environmental, non-profit organization, was formed to address and rectify environmental issues in the Basin. LPBF accomplishes its mission through programs addressing water quality, habitat protection, geographic information science, public access, and education.
LPBF used the recent, rapid development occurring in St. Tammany Parish as a case study to examine the relationship between land use, water quality, and development in the Basin by investigating habitat change/urbanization, development in flood plains, and water quality. Through the integration of LPBF programs, it was found that urbanization is having a devastating impact on the parish's natural habitats and severely degrading water quality. Using these results, LPBF is educating Basin citizens on the protection of their habitats and water quality to insure that these resources may be available for future generations.