Is This Backwards Or What???

Another reason to feel it is all hopeless. The bureaucratic process of restoring our Louisiana coastal reflects a mindset that is in desperate need of change if we are to win the war and save coastal Louisiana.

When we (Colonist) first came to North America the Mississippi flowed free and wild. Then like out of a story book came the great flood of 1927. Well after the flood... as they say, "Everything changed"!

The Federal government for the first time took control, authority, and responsibility for the building and maintenance of the levees along the Mississippi River. These levees run all the way down the river well past where people or property need protection.

So lets say I own a piece of marshland in one of these places, of which there are many, or should I say use to be much more than there is today. Well the federal government well intentioned leveed off my land from the Mississippi River. Unknowingly sentencing MY LAND (hypothetically speaking) to a slow creeping death due to erosion, subsidence and saltwater intrusion.

Why are these marshes leveed off from the River. Seems a God awful waste of money to build levees where there are no houses, roads, businesses to protect??? Well the answer is to decrease the cost of dredging the river so that tankers, freighters and other deep draft vessels can make it to ports as far North as Baton Rouge. Something that the Entire Nation depends on.

I am not going to even get into the question of does the government have the right to put a levee on my land which protects no ones property but only serves to reduce the cost of dredging. That is another subject for another day. No I am taking this in a different direction. One that to me points out why the super difficult task of battling coastal erosion has been made even more difficult by the policies that still exist today. Despite men and women with Ph d's knowing better.

What point am I taking so long to get too? Bare with me! There is a huge diversion project just below Venice known as the West Bay Diversion Project. There or other examples I could have used as all similar projects have the same component in the making. What this project does it remove a section of the levee, dredge an canal to allow water to flow into West Bay which use to be a considerable expanse of marsh but is now a shallow open bay.

Great you say! They have recognized the problem and are correcting it!!! So what is the problem? Well here is the rub. If you look at the cost of the project it includes money for digging the channel, monitoring the effect the diversion has over the years etc etc. "Of course!" you say. But get this!!! One of the cost of the project is for the money, dedicated to the cost of restoring coastal Louisiana, to be spent on the increased amount of dredging that will be needed because of the project.

This to me is blasphemy!!! How can any right thinking person burden the money for coastal restoration with the cost of dredging the Mississippi River. By removing the levee which should have never been built there things are put back to a more natural state. Why does the increased dredging cost not fall on those that want the river dredged???

I am not arguing for the cessation of dredging but the cost should be shouldered by those that want it dredged not by Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) moneys!!! Sure the country got a break on the cost of dredging for many years now. How about a "Thank you, it was good while it lasted, here is some of the money we saved over the years, use it for Coastal Restoration."??? No instead we get saddled with the increased cost as if the deep draft vessels own the river and only allow US to use it for a fee.

I am sorry but that is not the way it should be! These waters are being TAKEN from the marsh where much of it would flow naturally. The marshes have a right to that water and we should not have to pay for that water which is already rightfully theirs!

All this money that CWPPRA pays to dredge over the coming years is money that could have been used to PREVENT more erosion instead of being used to create more erosion.

As long as decisions like this are being made by the people in charge I am finding it increasingly difficult to be optimistic about the future of our marshes.

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