Help the Corps Correct Course on the Coast

Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana ” Gulf Restoration Network ” Lake Pontchartrain Basin FoundationSince Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has spent the last 3 years and over $23 million taxpayer dollars on the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Study (also known as the “Category 5 plan”). Our organizations worked hard to convince Congress to direct the Corps to develop a plan for our coast and communities which would recognize that LEVEES ALONE ARE NOT ENOUGH to protect South Louisiana.We have consistently urged Congress and the Corps to adopt the Louisiana Coastal Lines of Defense strategy, integrating structural protection such as levees and flood gates, with non-structural elements such as home-elevation and evacuation routes along with restored natural defenses such as barrier islands, marshes, natural ridges and cypress swamps. Ultimately, a comprehensive approach utilizing all of these components must be adopted by the Corps.Unfortunately, despite Congressional directions, the Corps has failed to provide clear recommendations while missing their deadline by approximately 2 years. In addition, the LACPR study has failed to use the Louisiana Coastal Lines of Defense strategy to envision and plan for a coast where our natural systems are enhanced and help keep our communities safe.The Corps is currently asking for public comments on the LACPR report, so now is our time to weigh in and ask for some key changes.Please join the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Gulf Restoration Network and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and urge the Corps to address these failures and others:” The LACPR report supports the Coastal Lines of Defense strategy but falls short of applying it to the formulation process and alternatives evaluated. We ask the Corps to incorporate the Multiple Lines of Defense strategy into the analysis.” The LACPR does not consider the full range of coastal restoration measures, such as using sediment from the Mississippi River, rebuilding barrier islands, restoring cypress swamps and natural ridges, etc.” Some of the LACPR’s levee alternatives could significantly increase storm surge and rely almost exclusively on levees that would enclose almost 1/4 of Louisiana’s remaining wetlands. Wetlands behind levees cannot provide protection or a buffer for the levee system and communities inside. The Corps should focus on leaving wetlands outside of the levee systems to act as storm surge buffers.” Nonstructural solutions (elevating homes, flood-proofing, etc.) are downplayed, despite the fact that they can be implemented quickly and provide cost-effective, environmentally sound risk reduction.The Corps should consider non-structural solutions more seriously.” Evacuation is a critical element in keeping our communities safe and saving lives, but is not included in any alternatives. The Corps should incorporate evacuation, and all of the lines of defense into their analysis.” The inevitable interaction of levees, flood gates, barriers, weirs, and leaky levees with diversions is not addressed. Habitat goals for a sustainable coast should be proposed so that the natural function of the estuary is supported.You can join us in sending this message by visiting our coastal lines of defense website here: you for helping us send the message that levees alone are not enough,Steven PeyronninCoalition to Restore Coastal LouisianaCyn SarthouGulf Restoration NetworkCarlton DufrechouLake Pontchartrain Basin FoundationP.S. Please share this call to action with your friends, family and colleagues who care about Louisiana’s coast. The public comment period closes this July 24th so please send your message today!

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