The Lessons on the Lake Logo Chapter 7: Ecosystems in Delicate Balance
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Lessons on the Lake -> Chapter 7 -> Decision Making and Issue Analysis

Decision Making and Issue Analysis

Management and Regulation

Once exotic plants or animals have escaped from captivity and become established in the wild, we, as citizens, are faced with many possible courses of action. If our response is prompt, we can often minimize the dire consequences to our precious ecosystems. On the other hand, if we are not paying attention to the wetlands surrounding Lake Pontchartrain, dramatic situations can suddenly loom into our everyday lives. A perfect example of the latter situation is the current nutria problem in Jefferson Parish where nutria are eating the vegetation along the drainage canals and tunneling under roads causing erosion.


Decision Making and Issue Analysis

  • Students can assume the roles of the various agencies involved in the decision-making process regarding threats to the ecosystem, proposing and defending their viewpoints.

  • Viewpoints should be well-grounded in scientific fact and well-researched.

  • Reaching agreements about complex social issues often require a high degree of diplomacy and considerable amounts of compromise between concerned parties.

Involved in this exercise are three scenarios:

  1. Nutria in Jefferson Parish:
    Read this excerpt, then read the following issue analysis PDF

  2. Salvinia problem in Southern Louisiana:
    Read this excerpt, then complete the following issue analysis PDF

  3. Dredging of channels through the West Pearl River:
    Read this excerpt, then read the following issue analysis PDF


The number of manatees in the United States has been steadily dropping. Currently, there are only about 3,000 animals left.


  1. Ch. 7 Intro
  2. Essential Questions
  3. Ecosystems
  4. Energy Flow Through an Ecosystem
  5. Healthy vs. Unhealthy Ecosystems
  6. Biodiversity
  7. Threatened and Endangered Species in the Basin
  8. Decision Making and Issue Analysis
  9. Ecosystem Tumble
  10. Activity: I'm a Survivor