Building Houses on the Sand: A Bird’s-eye View of the Sand Berms

Recently, Len Bahr has been sharing some of his thoughts about the state of Louisiana’s sand berms project on his blog A recent post included aerial photographs of the building and subsequent eroding of the sand berm that the state of Louisiana is attempting to construct, with the stated purpose of defending the wetlands from oil. This led me to see what other photographs were available to give us a good idea as to how the berms are holding up. While I was gathering the photos below, Louisiana also released some photos, and a press release declaring that the “berms are working.” While the most recent picture of the berm shows that they have once again increased its size, the question still remains: will this new berm be washed away when the next storm comes through? The bottom line is that much of what has been built has been washed away, and subsequently built back up with more dredged sand…only time will tell if this was an effective oil defense, but the vulnerability of these berms to rough seas and tropical storms should be considered before any more are constructed.Check out a slide show of aerial photographs over time:Matt Rota is Water Resources Program Director

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