Sustainment projects planned for coastFeb 22nd, 2011 | By Michelle Provencher | Category: news
The marshes in coastal Louisiana lose about one football field-worth of land every 30 minutes, according to America’s Wetland Foundation.
The conservation organization and area politicians hosted a tour of Bay Jimmy and the disintegrating marshlands on Feb. 15 to draw attention to the growing problem of coastal erosion.
“Whether we like it or not, there are unique challenges facing communities throughout the Gulf Coast,” said King Milling, chair of America’s Wetland.
Milling said that the “Blue Ribbon Resilient Communities” initiative was created in response to the growing vulnerability of the livelihoods of the approximately 12 million people living in the Gulf Coast region.
During the next 18 months, the Blue Ribbon Resilient Communities will host forums in 12 locations, providing education about sustainability and also organize one conservation project.
Joining Plaquemines Parish on the Blue Ribbon Resilient Communities schedule are New Orleans, Lake Charles, Terrebonne/Lafourche Parishes, St. Mary/Iberia Parishes, Houston, Texas, Galveston, Texas, Biloxi, Miss., Pascagoula, Miss., Mobile, Ala., Orange Beach, Ala., and Florida.
Milling said he hopes these events will give local voices to a national tragedy.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser called the parish “ground zero” for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, then again for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
“With the marshland, feet are dropping off every day,” said Nungesser. “We need immediate action.”
The role the oil spill played in furthering coastal erosion was evident in Bay Jimmy, as dead vegetation still standing in black, oil soaked mud was slowly sinking into the water.
“We have spent an awful lot of time in the past looking backward trying to assess blame,” said Louisiana Lieutenant Governor, Jay Dardenne, who is serving as chairman of the Blue Ribbon initiative. “[The initiative] is going to call upon people to discuss what the future will look like.”
“Our coastline offers benefits to the nation by way of seafood, wildlife, energy and navigation,” he continued. “[We] have a profound impact on the nation. This is going to give people in their communities [the ability] to talk to Washington.”
The Blue Ribbon forum for Plaquemines Parish is scheduled for May 16 and 17, and is open to the public.