Our coast needs a lot of attention

Louisiana’s erosion along the coast needs more attention before it is too late. It’s time to speed up the process so our water wonderland doesn’t leave the land behind completely.

The original plan of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority was to begin a 50-year program that would prevent further erosion and rebuild portions of the coast that have disappeared. That disappearance was said to have been at the rate of the size of a football field every hour.

Major elements of the repair called for the diversion of fresh water and sediment through channels from the Mississippi River and other waterways into the disappearing wetlands, and setting up pipelines from higher land along the coast and the Gulf of Mexico to build up low spots along the coast.

But immediately after the diversion projects were about to go into production, some commercial and sports fishermen took issue with them, claiming the flooding of their brackish fishing grounds with fresh river water would chase away the species of fish their livelihoods depended upon– even though the sediment in the diversion would help build up the wetlands.

Of course, the impact would not be as bad as they claim. Instead of selling speckled trout, reds, oysters and blue crabs, they would have bass, sac-a-lait and catfish from the same areas for their customers. The trout, reds, oysters and blue crabs would be a little further toward the Gulf of Mexico where they could still be caught.

It would make the Louisiana coast more liveable and the seafood everyone loves would still be available. The restored coast with more ground space could produce other products, such as many agricultural items which have grown there in the past.

We don’t want to deprive fishermen of the products they are making their livings on today, but a little change in where the products come from could keep their incomes alive and even make them bigger.

Considering the possibilities of development along a revived and healthy Gulf Coast, we can’t see how Louisiana can lose by not taking advantage of pursuing it. And our state coast could remain as prosperous as ever.

But the surging Gulf will not wait forever. If we do not try to turn the tide the other way, its intrusion into Louisiana will increase and we will continue to see water where we have never seen it before.


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