Reconstructing Land In Louisiana...Lack of Funding Is Helping To Sink The State
One football field of land is being lost every 48 minutes in Southeastern Louisiana, according to Pro Publica and The Lense in an interactive and illustrated report published August 28, 2014.
That's right, 16 square miles per year. According to authors Bob Marshall, Al Shaw and Brian Jacobs, the causes are drilling, dredging and climate change.
Millions of homes, they report, are at risk. Citing the United States Geological Survey, the state has lost "about 1,883 square miles" in just 80 years.
The post warns, "At the current rates that the sea is rising and land is sinking, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say by 2100 the Gulf of Mexico could rise as much as 4.3 feet across this landscape, which has an average elevation of 3 feet."
Cattle pastures, along with fishing camps, swamps and more are in danger. Some are completely gone. Huge areas of economically essential land are disappearing.
The Earth is speaking to us, quietly and without pause. Those working the land see it first hand, sometimes even before the scientists.
The State Legislature, to fight back, passed a coastal restoration plan in 2007. According to Pro Publica, "The 50-year, $50 billion Master Plan for the Coast (in 2012 dollars) includes projects to build levees, pump sediment into sinking areas, and build massive diversions on the river to reconnect it with the dying delta. The state’s computer projections show that by 2060 — if projects are completed on schedule — more land could be built annually than is lost to the Gulf."
As expected, Congress has not helped and the $50 billion has not been fully funded.
Why post this here? Southeastern Florida has cattle pastures too. The Raising Fields Project is about building up land. We need to watch how Washington, and the State of Louisiana, interact in efforts to rebuild essential land directly connected to our national economic security, and try to avoid the political battles that deter elevation efforts.
Louisiana is an example of a state that recognizes the need to shore up fading land. Will Florida follow that example and promote policies that elevate agricultural farm land?
The entire Pro Publica piece can be seen here. Don't miss it. For more, here is the link to a discussion by the authors of the Louisiana project. Among the many important points raised in the talk is this quote, "It was interesting that the cattle rancher saw the problem with the West Bay before the engineers. That's kind of sad."
Here's another: "Like many people who grow up in a certain environment, that cattle rancher has spent almost every day of his life on the delta. He's also a smart guy. I think the corps should be congratulated for listening to him. You know, they named one of those islands after him - Armstrong Island - and he was given an award. Sometimes the engineers' computers don't have the right input."