Over 30 years ago two organizations emerged to protect the Louisiana coast.
The Pontchartrain Conservancy (originally known as the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation) and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana were new organizations, but the problems they sought to correct were not. In the past three decades, our organizations have grown and evolved. We study our coastal issues and potential solutions, and we advocate for the best policies, rooted in the certainty of science. We host volunteer events during which we plant grasses and trees to anchor the fragile soil on which our communities have been built. We build oyster reefs to protect the wetlands that provide seafood and a paradise for sportsmen and women, and that buffer us from storms. There is much we can do to restore and maintain our coast.The Advocate
These two organizations have worked to help the land and wet lands near us, and some of us have helped them or taken advantage of their services. Yet, the loss of land is hurting them and us.
Our land loss continues, and our most powerful tool in stopping it has not been deployed — yet. Just as human manipulation led to the unhealthy conditions in the lake, the artificial controlling of the Mississippi River by strictly leveeing it from one end to the other has led to unhealthy conditions in the adjacent wetlands that comprise our coast. The levees have protected our communities from flooding — usually — but they also have choked off the annual supply of sediment and nutrients that built this great delta in the first place, instead sending them downriver and into the Gulf. Correcting this unsustainable situation is what the Mid-Barataria sediment diversion will do. The project, to be sited about 25 miles downriver from New Orleans, will build a channel that will allow water and sediment to flow from the river into adjacent wetlands when sediment levels are high. It will allow nature to return to work by feeding the starving wetlands Louisiana is losing so quickly.
The land loss is occurring so we know what to do. The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is not an option but the only option.
We know from scientific modeling, not guesswork, that it is our best shot — our only shot — at stopping the disappearance of our wetlands. More than 2,000 square miles of our coast have vanished, so we have moved past the point of deciding whether we should implement this project. We are now at the point of figuring out the specifics of how to do it. Louisiana’s coast is not just a geographical area. It is the habitat for untold numbers of birds and other wildlife. It is the first line of defense between millions of people and the hurricane-fueling waters of the Gulf. It is the lifeblood of fishing. And it is where people live. But this isn’t about just the environment. It’s also about jobs. This massive public works project will create thousands of them, and it will protect thousands more. The coast of Louisiana will prosper, economically and environmentally, once it is restored.
Support this diversion. Comment on this diversion. Tell your public officials to back this diversion. Only we can solve the land loss problem.