Front Porch Blog

Support Wetland Restoration in New Orleans

When New Orleans was built, tens of miles of wetlands in all directions separated it from the Gulf of Mexico and its hurricanes. These wetlands removed much of the energy from wind and storm surges. But great engineering works built for ships and flood control have diverted sediment and freshwater from the wetlands, diminishing the protection of Louisiana ‘ s coastline. Every thirty minutes, an area of coastal land the size of a football field vanishes, only to be replaced by open water. Since the 1930s, more than 1.2-million acres (1,900 square miles), an area the size of Delaware , has disappeared from the Mississippi River Delta precisely where much of Hurricane Katrina ‘ s wrath was felt. This represents 90 percent of the coastal wetland loss in the United States . Restoring Louisiana ‘ s coastal wetlands must be part of a long-term reconstruction plan for Louisiana and the Mississippi River delta. Congress first directed agencies to work together on a restoration plan in 1990, but while multiple plans have been written, little has been accomplished on the ground. Hurricane Katrina only increased these problems. Despite billions of dollars in disaster aid, Congress has yet to provide meaningful funds to restore the wetlands.

For more information and to send a message to your elected officials:

Rebuild New Orleans Wetlands, Architect Suggests
[ Louisiana ] New Orleans should embrace its watery environment and restore wetlands as it rebuilds, suggests a prize-winning architect hired to design a modernistic central park in the city ‘ s downtown. Thom Mayne, known for maverick designs, urged New Orleans to treat the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina last year as a chance to re-imagine the city, adding both technology and a dollop of the nature that has been erased over the years. As most of New Orleans is below sea level, and many of the areas hit hardest by Katrina were developed from land reclaimed from wetlands — or swamps. State officials and activists are also focused on restoring coastal wetlands to help soften the blow of future storms. Estuaries preserved and recreated along the coast of southern California might be a model, he said, recalling pictures of a New Orleans wetlands before it was drained for housing. “It just startled me how beautiful it was,” he said.

News notes are courtesy of Southern Forests Network News Notes





Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment