Louisiana is still heading in the right direction in its efforts to restore and rebuild its coast, but unfortunately it is taking a while to get things moving. And by the time we get what our coast needs, it may be on its last leg of solidity. The state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is getting closer to restoring what the river is supposed to be doing by letting water and sediment overflow the banks and keep our coastal wetlands healthy.
The authority is getting designs on two new major sediment diversion projects to be built in Louisiana. One would be on the west bank near Myrtle Grove, to be named Mid -Barataria Sediment Diversion and the other would be in the Mid-Breton Sound area.
The first one would consist of a gated structure built into a hole in the Mississippi River levee that would allow some 75,000 cubic feet of water flow into a channel leading into the Barataria Basin, which would make our coastal wetlands more solid. This has been part of the state’s coastal plan and it now looks like it may become part of our coast’s survival.
But there is much more to be done to save our valuable coast from being washed away like the 2,000 square miles that have already been lost to the Gulf of Mexico. Our main problem is the river’s levee system, which keeps hundreds of thousands of people out of inundation but also funnels millions of tons of sediment out of the mouth of the river into the gulf where it cannot replenish our coastal lands.
That is the reason why attention is turning toward diverting river water out of the river and into our wetlands before it is lost in the Gulf.
Gov. John Bel Edwards recently asked President Trump to fast track five coastal projects including the two diversions. Louisiana’s coastal master plan is revised every few years and that revision is coming up this month so those inclusions should be included in it.
Hopefully, they will be and we will get several steps ahead in making our coast solid again.