Governor needs to push coastal restoration


February 13, 2008 at 12:01 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Hopefully, as soon as Gov. Bobby Jindal makes good on his efforts to reform ethics in state politics, he will turn his attention to the biggest problem facing our state. That is to save and restore out valuable coast.

We have a big surplus in the treasury up there in Baton Rouge and it would be a mistake to use it for recurring expenses which would add to the cost of conducting state government year after year. The right way to use it, and we are sure the governor agrees, is to use it for one-time needed projects such as helping to restore our coast. The state will have to use some of its own money to do that restoration and the sooner we start doing it, the sooner the federal government will increase its participation. After all, it is a federal coast as well as a state coast.

What would our state be without the rich wetlands that harbor the nation’s greatest source of fish and wildlife, provide hurricane protection for our state’s populated areas and provide launching areas for production of oil and gas that has given this country the power to produce the world’s greatest wealth?

We have yet to begin the serious job that lies ahead in coastal restoration. Sure, we have a Davis Pond Diversion Project right here in St. Charles Parish and another similar project down the river at Carnaervan. But for the most part, that is it.

There is so much more to get done and we have very little time to do it before most of our wetlands wash into the Gulf of Mexico. We’re sure the governor is aware of that.
There are three main ways in which we can preserve the coast.

The first concern is to shore up the barrier islands and other coastal areas along the Gulf. This should be our first line of defense against hurricanes and further erosion of the wetlands. If the surges of the Gulf hit a healthy coast, they will have less chance of opening it up to let open water in.

The second concern should be to expand on the diversion projects that will replicate the historic role of the Mississippi River in freshening up the wetlands in the past by overflowing its waters after northern icelands thaw out each spring. They need not all be large projects but there should be many to cover the entire coast.

The other concern should be to pump sediment from the river into interior areas of the wetlands that are already open water. This can be done through pipelines from the river to their destinations whicn can be moved when finished to other areas in need.

Louisiana already has a Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast that has been officially adopted for implementation in the future. But the future is now if we are to save the coast.

It is a very extensive plan and will certainly require revisions as it is put into effect. But many aspects of it can be put on the front burner for quick adoption.
We’re waiting for our new governor to go full speed ahead on restoring our coast. We have less than 10 years to get a lot going in that direction or else it will be too late.




View other articles written By Allen Lottinger

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