Degrading the Tallow Banks of Jean Lafitte

Jean Lafitte National Park and EPA lead the way to healing oil injuries to our coastal marshesTo heal a patient, first stop the bleeding. After decades of Coastal Restoration, Louisiana still has not applied the pressure needed to restore the most obvious damage to its marshes. Over the decades, these open wounds have cost the coast millions in ecosystem services, and it is past time to heal these flagrant damages.Kral oyunlar kral oyun Oyunlar oyun – En kral oyunlar1 giydirme oyunları giysi oyunlarI oyunlar1 kral oyun kral oyun kral oyun araba oyunları – giydirme oyunları kral oyun mario oyunları savaş oyunları çocuk oyunları Degraded banks off Yankee Pond in Jean Lafitte Park. A golden meadow once again.Last Week, EPA and National Park staff took non-profit staff and parish, state, and federal officials on a tour of a recently backfilled canal on Park property. The EPA has proposed a CWPPRA (Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act) project to degrade these spoil banks, to restore the marsh underneath and to restore the natural flow of waters and animals into the surrounding marshes.Because the Park has a restoration mission, the access canals and their spoil banks are under consideration for coastal restoration. The banks already restored by the park yield about 20 acres of marsh apiece in the first three years. The value of each acre of this flotant marsh is estimated at $3,000 to $12,000 per year in ecosystem services. Because Industry has dragged its feet, Louisiana has lost millions of dollars worth of services over 30 years.[i]The spoil banks on the majority of canals across Louisiana’s interior persist, impounding marshes and allowing salt water further into the freshwater interior.A remnant tallow bank left un-degraded, with the banks degraded to marsh level to the right. The marsh on the right has only been restored for a year.The Legacy of oil and gas is obvious from any aerial photo of coastal Louisiana. The canal network that allowed the decades of extraction makes the former marshes look like an ant farm. (Left) Oil and Gas Canals off the GIWW near Houma. Most of these canals have limited navigational use and most of the wells are inactive if not abandoned.Although it has been decades since many of the canals were active, and thirty years since the Coastal Zone Management Act was passed, thousands of miles of useless canals remain despite the law.Louisiana Administrative Code Title 43 I.1 Chapter 7B 705N.Areas dredged for linear facilities [Ch7A: including “pipelines, roads, canals, channels, and powerlines” ] shall be backfilled or otherwise restored to the pre-existing conditions upon cessation of use for navigation purposes to the maximum extent practicable.At first, this law was interpreted to mean that canals should be made into marsh again. Oil companies degraded the spoil banks of some canals, until the interpretation of the law changed. From those few canals [map, Baustian’s Atlas], we have a decades-long research project showing, in detail, the practicability of this restoration method in different conditions across Louisiana. Fishes and other animals can access the marsh once the tallow banks are degradedThirty years after this law was enacted, oil company negligence has forced the public to pay for restoration of public lands. But Coastal Louisiana cannot wait any longer for oil companies to do their part.All inactive wells, all plugged and abandoned wells and dry holes on public lands should have their access canals backfilled, or at least have their banks degraded to restore sheet flow. The marsh must work again.[view flickr set]Scott Eustis is GRN’s Coastal Wetland Specialist [i] Earth economics [link] Wetlands, Hurricanes and the Economy: The Value of Restoring the Mississippi River Delta

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