The Louisiana Master Plan launches us into the future: Where will we land?

The Louisiana Master Plan launches us into the future: Where will we land?Restoring Louisiana’s wetlands, North America’s Great Delta, is a national issue, and Louisiana has taken a leadership role. We are excited that Louisiana is ramping up piecemeal projects into larger scale restoration that truly addresses the crisis, and is pursuing a long-term vision that reconnects the Mississippi River with its Delta and protects coastal communities from the Gulf of Mexico.It is truly now or never. If coastal Louisiana is to have a future, this effort is irreplaceable. Hard decisions have been made; but we are happy to see that non-structural flood protectionelevation of homes, flood-proofing, and helping people relocate, is given significant funding in the plan. –In line with the Coastal Lines of Defense vision, non-structural protection has equal funding and priority with levee construction. But we also need the state to plan and to provide a safe landing for communities that must relocate in the face of the Gulf of Mexico. Without support for where these communities will end up, we are only scattering our heritage to the wind. Coastal communities in areas most rapidly disappearing should be the first to receive assistance.–We are excited about the state’s efforts to design and build a land-building diversion at Myrtle Grove. This is the kind of scientific leadership and collaboration that Louisiana can be proud of.Restoring historic oyster reefs are another kind of restoration technology that provides a tidal barrier while restoring the fertility of the Delta. Louisiana must hire coastal communities to rebuild their own reefs, if Louisiana wants a real restoration economy.The plan has wisely focused on sustaining marsh in land bridges that block tidal forces while providing homes for our wildlife and commercial species and growing against sea level rise. Barrier Islands built with river sand can also protect from tides, if we rebuild the marshes behind them.–Louisiana must prioritize these restoration projects if all the funding does not come. To follow the money, read the 2013 annual plan linked below.–The oil and gas industry must restore their lands in Terrebonne. It is telling that Terrebonne, the land that the oil industry destroyedprivate wetlands that the oil industry ownscannot be rebuilt due to high rates of subsidence that oil extraction has greatly aggravated. The levee alignment proposed will not protect Terrebonne parish from hurricanes. Only coastal lines of defense -ring levees and marshes–will. The industry has sunk hundreds of square miles of the Delta, and this plan shows how much Louisiana needs the industry to do their part and fix the coast they broke.The easiest way for the oil industry to contribute would be to restore the canals lacerating our Coast. In our interior wetlands, there are tens of thousands of acres of marsh just under the canal spoilrestoring these marshes is the cheapest, easiest way to restore the Delta and show the nation that Louisiana is serious about Coastal Restoration. The Coast that we have left has been battered by oil and gas. Imagine the Coast we could have if oil and gas did their part!What Delta could we have if Oil and Gas fixed the coast it broke?Louisiana communities must speak up! The plan includes focus groups from Fisheries, Oil and Gas, and Navigation alongside the main Framework Development team, but it needs your input as well. We have already seen the delivery team adapt their practices based on past hearings, so we know that our comments will be heard.–The 2012 Master Plan is available at can be sent to–Submit comments online by February 25…–The 2013 Annual Plan is here: on the annual plan can be sent to PO Box 44027 BR,LA, 70804–Your attendance at these hearings next week is important for Louisiana’s future.Master Plan Public Meetings are “open houses” to share information and gather public comments.Each meeting has informational tables from 1 pm and a public hearing starting at 5:30.January 23, New Orleans, LA, University of New Orleans Lindy Boggs CenterJanuary 24, Houma, LA, Terrebonne Civic CenterJanuary 25, Lake Charles, LA, Lake Charles Civic Center

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