Let’s Look Before We Leap

Recently, the State of Louisiana submitted a proposal to the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge up sand and sediment to build 6-foot high and 20-foot wide “berms” in front of the barrier islands from the Chandeleurs to Grand Isle. We share the State’s desire to protect our coast from the harmful effects of the ever-growing oil slick approaching our wetlands. However, based on conversations with scientists, conservationists, and federal resource agencies, we have some concerns about this massive plan. Basically, there isn’t enough information to properly make a decision. All that we have seen is a letter from the State, and five very basic and general graphic representations of what is being proposed. Before the Corps considers this plan, we suggest that the following areas are closely examined:Given the time it would take to build these barriers, and uncertainties regarding how the sediment would behave, would they be effective?Is this the best use of the limited sediments available for coastal restoration?What impact will the oil have on these barriers?How will these barriers change the hydrology? Could they inadvertently bring the oil in faster?What are the impacts to fish and marine life?Instead of this huge project, we suggest that, if the Corps wants to proceed along these lines, that we focus on restoring existing barrier islands or just authorize a pilot study to see if this will even work.We appreciate the desire to do whatever we can to stop the oil from further impacting the shores of Louisiana, but we would also encourage caution so we can be sure that limited resources (manpower, sediment, and money) are put to the best purposes.Click here to see our full suggestions and concerns that GRN submitted to the Corps.Matt is Water Resources Program Director for GRN

Scroll to Top