St. Charles Herald-Guide

Here are four steps to save Louisianaís coast

Our View - March 14, 2007

With so much attention being paid to the deterioration of the Louisiana coast these days, it would seem there would be a great deal of work underway to stop it. But there isnít.

And we read huge blowups in the metropolitan daily recently that in 10 years the deterioration would be irreversible. But nothing is currently being done to stop it.

So letís hurry up and get started.

First of all, get the money. Bond our share of the offshore oil revenues Congress recently granted to us in new production in 10 years.

Secondly, designate the barrier islands that can protect our wetlands from erosion and storm surges and start pumping sand on them. And plan to do it consistently to maintain them.

Thirdly, identify areas of the wetlands that are deteriorating into open water the most and start pumping silt from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers through pipelines to build them up and make them stable. This will counteract the surges of Katrina, Rita and other hurricanes that washed away much of those wetlands.

Fourthly, choose sections of the Mississippi River where fresh water and sediment diversions would be most effective in building up the wetlands. And start cutting the levees to let it through.

There you are. Four steps that would start us on the way to doing the most important job facing our state today.

Weíve studied, planned, talked and written about it for some 30 years or more. And weíve done very little to make it happen.

Itís time to start doing it now before itís too late.