The Louisana coastal marshes which have been in the news so much recently have been dying since Captain Henry Shreve dug a shortcut across the the neck of Turnbull’s Bend in 1831. Old Man River decided to take that shortcut to the Gulf of Mexico.
Subsequently levees were built to keep the river in its traditional path and hydroelectric dams were built on the lower Missouri River.
Billions of tons of silt that used to replenish the Louisiana coast and provide a rich wildlife environment now clog the hydroelectric dams on the Missouri River inhibiting their efficiency and wash into the Gulf of Mexico due to the levees on the lower Mississippi River which prevent its deposition in the river delta.
Roughly 40 square miles of marsh are lost every year. The very marsh now suffering from oil intrusion will soon be under water anyway.
The Mississippi River has been trying to divert itself into the Atchafalya River for decades and millions of dollars are spent trying to shore up the old river control structure which the Mississippi continually undermines.
It's long past time to right this problem and the current conditions are right to make it so.
Its time for this nation to invest in a new Southern Louisiana by making it more like the old Southern Louisiana.
The solution in terms of flood control is simple. Cut the river levees in selected areas and increase the flood plain thereby burying the polluted oil soaked marsh in fresh rich and abundant sediment. The river will do the work if we let it.
It will be hard on some people but it is necessary. Those living in the newly created flood plain will have to move to higher ground.
The benefit is immense including;
- recovery from the oil pollution along the river basin
- restoration of the coastal marshes
- hurricane protection
- restoration of wildlife and fisheries in a currently dying ecosystem
Additional benefits include new jobs and a new economy for the region.
BP can pay for much of it. They owe it to the region. It's time to collect.