Several years ago, it was predicted we would be beyond the point of no return in saving the Louisiana coast if a lot of work to restore it were not done within 10 years. Here it is almost the beginning of 2011 and very little has been done.
The main project in that direction recently has been the building of berms to prevent oil from the BP oil spill from washing ashore along very few of the barrier islands. Though much oil did not threaten to come ashore, the berms did a secondary job of helping to build up some of those islands which also protect us from hurricanes and further erosion of our inland wetlands.
But that did not begin to protect our valuable shoreline. There are three types of projects which are needed quickly to accomplish it.
Our first line of defense is restoration of all barrier islands that offer us a buffer from the sea. Secondly, we need to divert far more fresh water from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers into our wetlands to make them fresher and allow vegetation to grow and help preserve them. Thirdly, we need to pump river sediment into those wetlands that are fast becoming open water to help stop the sea from coming further in to our populated areas.
We’re counting the years and there aren’t many left before we are at that point of no return and Louisiana will lose all of its productive wetlands which is the number one producer of commercial fisheries in the nation.
The beginning of the end is getting very near and we need to make 2011 a year in which we’ll start a new effort to speed up and complete the job.