Coastal restoration needed for future hurricane seasons

November 16, 2009 at 9:15 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

As Hurricane Ida swept by this week, we all breathed a sigh of relief that conditions were right to lessen its destructive force as it crossed the Gulf of Mexico. And we are also thankful that the rest of the season so far has spared us even the inconvenience of evacuation.

But this is no reason to rejoice. There are still two weeks left of this season and there are multiple seasons ahead when we will be just as subject as in the past to destructive high winds and water.

We have been talking about and planning to build up our coast to protect us from future hurricanes for decades but so far we have done little. Here in St. Charles Parish, we built the David Pond Diversion Project which was designed to freshen the wetlands and grow vegetation that would hold the wetlands together. It and another diversion project at Carnarveron down the river have helped but much more is needed.

Our governor has promised that major projects will be started but so far we have not seen them. Hopefully they are putting the final plans together so work can begin in the near future on work that will save our coast from destructive storm surges. We need to build up the barrier islands which are our first line of defense, pump sediment from the rivers into areas of wetlands that have eroded into open water and establish more fresh water diversion projects to stabilize our delta as the rivers did before we invented levees.

And its time to get started with the work. We can’t lose a football field of land every 15 minutes much longer and hope to stay dry.

The 2009 hurricane season was a mild one but there is a guarantee that there will be severe ones ahead. And restoring our coast is the only sensible way to protect us from them.

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