Louisiana wetlands restoration effort

Discussion in 'Free Speech Alley' started by snorton938, Mar 16, 2004.

  1. snorton938

    snorton938 Founding Member

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    does anyone know how the louisiana wetland restoration effort is working (i.e., 30 miles were being lost each year).....is it making progress......the federal gov't is supposedly pumping $50M into the state annually to prevent and reverse further erosion but i don't think that that is enough for a potentially $30B problem. i feel that this is probably one of the least emphasized crisis (except in the state of louisiana) that has huge national ramifications (both economically and socially......many families in that region have made their livelihood there for generations)......just wanted to see if anyone had any information.

    http://www.restoreorretreat.org/crisis.html
     
  2. red55

    red55 curmudgeon Staff Member

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    The dirty little secret is that we could spend trillions of dollars and we couldn't stop coastal erosion in Louisiana.

    We're talking about the Mississippi River delta here. A delta maintains itself by regularly changing its stream courses to spread its sediment evenly in the shallow coastal lagoons across its entire width. What we have now is a Mississippi River confined by artificial levees that has extended to the edge of the continental shelf and is dumping its sediment load into deep water.

    The great delta plain is starved of sediment because the river no longer switches to it's alternate distributary courses (like Bayou Lafourche, Teche, La Loutre, etc) to spread the sediment and renourish the coastal marshes.

    Meanwhile, the tremendous weight of the thousands of feet of sediment accumulated in the delta over the millenia causes the entire deltaic plain to steadily subside. There is nothing we can do about this.

    There is something we can do to stop wasting the Mississippi River sediment that is being dumped at the continental slope. However it is politically and humanly impossible. That would be to let the river change course naturally again. Of course this would cause great changes for those in the path of the new delta lobe.

    If not for the Old River Control Structure, the Mississippi River would probably have changed its course to the Atchafalaya River during the flood of 1973. If it had happened, The River would be building thousands of acres of new land in what is now Atchafalaya and Cote Blanche Bays. Of course, the Atchafalaya Basin would be infilled and be no longer a wetland, Morgan City and Patterson would probably be history, and BAton Rouge and New Orleans would be sitting on a long estuary instead of the Mississippi River.

    We could spend all of our treasure, but it will never stop deltaic subsidence. The land will continue to disappear if the river is not depositing sediment to compensate. There is nothing we can do about it.

    Fortunately, one of the proposed solutions is to create a new delta lobe by diverting part of the river into Barataria and Terrebonne Bays. But most of the money being proposed will be spent on short-term fixes for a few small areas. Things like more levees, beach rebuilding and such. This must be done, of course, to protect those folks that are being directly impacted right now.

    But we should never imagine that these billions are going to solve the problem.
     
  3. Sourdoughman

    Sourdoughman TigerFan of LSU and the Tigerman

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    great post Red55
     
  4. captainpodnuh

    captainpodnuh Baseball at da Box

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    sounds like we found out what field red works in.
     
  5. LSUsupaFan

    LSUsupaFan Founding Member

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    Louisiana doesn't carry enough electorla votes for Bush to care. Kerry is a good for nothing Yankee. Houma will be beach front in 25 years.
     
  6. Lost Tiger fan

    Lost Tiger fan Freshman

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    Yeah,he's a Knucklehead

    Well you can certainly tell Red's not a sportsman,or at least he's not interested in preserving the fishing and hunting that helps the state's economy.(edited by moderator) Great post,WTFE!! This is a serious issue rather you few pacifists that disgrace the state think so or not! Of course the whole program is probably in jeapordy now with that DITZ Blanco phuking up the state. La. has survived worse,though. (Do you REALLY think the feds would push so much money into such a corrupted area if it COULDN'T do ANY good?)

    Mod note- Check the name calling at the door.
     
  7. SabanFan

    SabanFan The voice of reason

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    I read Red's post with great interest because I am a sportsman. What Red posted was untainted by personal perspective. He laid out geological facts without any commentary. Suddenly, Lost Tiger Fan lashes out at him because the truth of the matter is painful. Would the Feds pour billions into Coastal Restoration "if it COULDN'T do any good?" I'd love to answer that but I have to maintain my reputation here as a staunch Republican. My advice to you, Lost Tiger Fan, is to get lost.
     
  8. red55

    red55 curmudgeon Staff Member

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    Don't get me wrong. I think it is important for the federal government to spend money to help Louisiana cope with an evolving coastline. Property owners are losing land and people are going to have to be relocated. And even when we build land through coastal restoration efforts, we infill lagoons and bays with silt and change water salinities. Oyster beds and fish breeding areas are impacted. 12 million migrating birds that winter in the coastal zone have their habitats changed. It important for the nation to help us deal with a dynamic coastline.

    But some people are selling this effort as if they can somehow reverse centuries of natural processes and restore Louisiana to the way it once was. Never gonna happen. It's never been a static coastline anyway.

    Our deltaic coastal zone is an ongoing competition between the river and the sea. It will always be a changing situation and we must spend our money on adapting to these natural processes. Not on trying to turn back time. We can't even slow down the process, much less reverse it.

    This has nothing to do with sportsmen, pacifists, the fishing & hunting economy, ditzes, governors, feds, or corruption. You are aptly named, Lost Tiger Fan. You've lost me.
     
  9. RyanD

    RyanD Freshman

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    Red55 is right

    That's the problem with Blanco she's for these 'sports fishermen' and completely against commercial fishermen. She and her bunch are the ones trying to kill off commercial fishing in the basin. I guess all those rich lawyers and doctors I.E. sports fishermen put to much money in her pocket for her to care about the commercial fishing industry here in the state.

    Newsflash Blanco, sportsfishing doesn't do a damn thing for the states economy. I guess some people don't care as long as they are able to go out on the weekends and drink their beer and catch their one or two little bass.

    And as far as the wetlands go, your not going to get me all up and arms about mesquito breeding grounds. The coast is gonna erode that's the way it works, hell the ocean used to be as high up as Canada centuries ago.
     
  10. Jetstorm

    Jetstorm Founding Member

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    I tend to agree with you Red, that the Louisiana coastline is an ever-changing, evolving deltaic plain and that it is pointless to try to force our will upon Mother Nature. That's what we've been doing the last 100 years and now we are reaping the whirlwind. But I don't think there's absolutely nothing we can do about it. I think if we work with Mother Nature, instead of fighting her, we can preserve much of our current landmass and prevent future erosion by at least partially returning to the old cycle of a free running river dropping it's sediment all over a wide delta. Now, obviously, we aren't going to let the Mississippi River change course, nor are we going to tear down our expansive flood control system that has taken decades to build and perfect. What we can do, however, is build more open floodways like the Atchafalya and Morganza Floodways much further downriver and divert lots of riverwater through artificial spillways (like the structure at Canaervon) and natural offshoots of the river (like Bayou LaFourche once was) and let that water filter down to the coastal marsh areas. Risk of displacement is minimal because, the closer you get to the coast, the less people live out there, although some people will have to be relocated, of course. As for impact on Louisiana's commercial fisheries, that will have to be studied and ways will have to be found to counter-act any negative problems there. But there is still a lot we don't know. And I can't help but feel that not enough attention is being paid to this problem. For all the attention and federal money spent on the Everglades in Florida, the fact is that the Everglades really aren't in any real danger. Louisiana's coastal marsh zone is. And if something isn't done about it, a huge chunk of the nation's petrochemical infrastructure, not to mention one of our nation's oldest and most historic cities, an MSA with over 1.2 million people living in and around it, could possibly sink into the Gulf of Mexico. We can't just do nothing and hope the problem will just go away.
     

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