Public Relations for Diversions 101

Answering 10 Fundamental Questions about the Mississippi River Delta (original link)

This is one of many reports advocating for river diversions. The basic claim is simple:

Diversions will have impacts on vegetation, particularly on
the distribution of some plant species. However, without
diversions and other methods for introducing nutrient rich
fresh water into the ecosystems of coastal Louisiana, the
wetlands will degrade to open water. Thus, the effect of
nutrients is not large enough to offset the larger benefits of
diversions for coastal Louisiana, particularly if diversions are
pulsed to allow a balance of salt and fresh water

Diversions may cause problems for wetlands, but without diversions there will be no wetlands. The unstated premise is that levees will be built to close off the entire coast of Louisiana. These levees will assure the destruction of the wetlands as sea level rises because the levees will prevent the natural process of inland migration of the intertidal zone. The solution is not diversions, which even if successful, can only sustain a small part of the wetlands, but to stop building levees. It is not surprising that the state of Louisiana is pro levee and diversions. They are huge engineering projects that will provide decades of rich patronage to engineering firms. They also provide false assurance to coastal populations that they are safe and do not need to move. Sadly, this will assure that the next Katrina will do even more damage than the last. What is tragic is that national environmental groups are backing this program of levees and diversions. They are blinded by the word restoration and by the huge amount of grant money the state is pouring into every group that backs its plans. The only environmentally sound position is to stop levee construction, promote the natural inland migration of wetlands, and work for policies that help coastal population migrate inland.

 

 

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