Latest Mississippi River Delta News: August 21, 2015

The Next Big One
By Chris Mooney, The Washington Post. August 21, 2015
Louisiana has roughly 5,700 square miles of wetlands. If it keeps losing them at the current rate — estimated at a football field an hour — New Orleans could someday lie right up against the Gulf of Mexico, more exposed than ever to another natural disaster. And Nyman and many other coastal scientists say that wetland-building river diversions like the one at Pass a Loutre — only much bigger and much closer to the city — are critical to staving off that fate.” (Read More)
What Hurricane Katrina Taught Us about Fixing Louisiana
*features David Yarnold, NAS
By David Yarnold, Huffington Post. August 20, 2015
If there’s one thing we all learned from Katrina, it’s that we waited too long. We have to invest in serious restoration of our coasts now. This is not just a Louisiana problem: It’s the challenge of virtually every country on the globe that has a coastline.” (Read More)

Mississippi River Mouth Must Be Abandoned to Save New Orleans from Next Hurricane Katrina
*features Steve Cochran, EDF
By Mark Fischetti, Scientific American. August 20, 2015
Extensive studies done after Katrina verified what lifelong residents of southeastern Louisiana already knew: Unless the rapidly disappearing wetlands are made healthy again, restoring the natural defense, New Orleans will soon lay naked against the sea. So, how does one reengineer the entire Mississippi River delta—one of the largest in the world—on which New Orleans lays?” (Read More)

Stopping a storm surge superhighway
*features John Lopez, LPBF
By Suzanne Zionts, AlJazeera America . August 18, 2015
The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Canal known as MR-GO was designed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 20thcentury to be a shorter route between the Gulf of Mexico and the Port of New Orleans. Termed by critics as a storm surge superhighway during Katrina, the channel acted as a funnel pushing Katrina closer to the city center. The MRGO also caused a dramatic reduction of cypress swaps and wetlands which act as natural storm surge barriers for the city. Although the MRGO officially closed in 2009, New Orleans is still reeling from the wake of ecological destruction caused by the channel.” (Read More)

Coastal Restoration Designs Selected
*features Steve Cochran, EDF
By Eileen Fleming, WWNO. August 21, 2015
Three coastal restoration plans have been selected in an international design contest kicked off two years ago by the Environmental Defense Fund. Plans call for multiple diversions, starting in Belle Chase, in varying locations for the next 100 years. The competition was called “Changing Course.” It centers on harnessing the power of the Mississippi River to spread its sediment over disappearing wetlands, and build back the land.” (Read More)

Policy: Hurricane Katrina’s lessons for the world
By Edward B. Barbier, Nature . August 19, 2015
Louisiana’s 50-year coastal-planning strategy represents a new way of thinking about the long-term management of coasts. Resilience is the new aim — against short-lived natural disasters that have immediate and often extreme impacts, such as flooding and storm surges, and against long-term climatic changes that have more gradual impacts, such as sea-level rise, saline intrusion and erosion.” (Read More)
Louisiana identifies tentative restoration projects for BP spill money
By Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune. August 19, 2015
A tentative list of projects that would be funded by $7.2 billion in BP oil spill fine and settlement money, including wetland-building sediment diversions from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, marsh creation projects using sediment moved by pipeline from rivers and the Gulf of Mexico, and the rebuilding of nine barrier islands and four coastal ridges, was announced by Louisiana officials on Wednesday (Aug. 19).” (Read More)
State agency refines list of projects under consideration for funding with Deepwater Horizon settlement money
By Amy Wold, The Advocate. August 20, 2015
Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Executive Director Kyle Graham said the Wednesday list of projects was just the next step in determining what coastal projects could qualify for funding. “There’s a tremendous amount of additional work to get this defined,” Graham said.” (Read More)
Rebuilding New Orleans into America’s finest water city
By Han Meyer, The Guardian. August 20, 2015
We believe there is potential for New Orleans to develop a relationship with its river delta that contributes to spatial, economic and social renewal that could power its regeneration. This includes the implementation of the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, driving indirect and direct investment of up to $11bn and supporting as many as 100,000 new jobs.” (Read More)
Deepwater Horizon settlements helped Obama come through with wetlands restoration funding
By Bob Marshall, The Lens. August 20, 2015
The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, a shipping channel dredged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and long considered an economic and environmental blunder, was plugged in 2009. However, due to a funding dispute with the state, the corps has not followed through on a commitment to restore wetlands damage caused by the channel.” (Read More)
New Orleans needs you to help hold back the sea: John Barry
The Times-Picayune. August 21, 2015
Our region has a chance to survive, even with sea level rise, and achieve 500-year flood protection. In fact, the metro area’s levee system right now likely protects against a 500-year storm’s “still-water” height, which is the surge without waves. Rebuilding land in front of levees can cut down the waves.
The state’s master plan proposes a way to achieve this. The engineering required is difficult. The politics are more difficult — and only you readers can solve it.” (Read More)