Flood Protection is Critical

Important Factor for Voters

by Kea Sherman

This week, I took a pause from politics to take Hayden to see the remake of the Lion King.  For many, this brings back memories of the catchy soundtrack and the movie’s theme – the Circle of Life.  The basic idea is that we are all interconnected – whatever affects you will ultimately touch me and vice versa.  While writing this week’s message about our coast, this theme resurfaced.  After traveling around the state over the past few years helping to launch two organizations, I’ve come to appreciate Louisiana’s cultural diversity on a new level.  Each city and town has its own culture, traditions, dialect and style of gumbo (I prefer mine with potato salad).  

Even with all of our differences, certain situations, or circumstances remind us that we are all in this together.  Our Louisiana coastline serves as a powerful force uniting our state economically, culturally and strategically. Local economies are connected by a network of 32 ports that ship cargo, service the oil and gas industry and are used by the commercial fishing industry.  Unfortunately, we now find ourselves battling a sinking coastline due to natural and man-made subsidence.  In the past, this process was offset by new sediment when the Mississippi River overflowed.  Since the construction of levees along the river, the natural replenishment of sediment no longer occurs while the wetlands continue to sink. This growing threat is exacerbated by sea level rise.  GNO, Inc. summed it up best, “Coastal land loss is undoubtedly the pressing existential crisis threatening Louisiana’s economy, culture and historical way of life.” See link below.

A sense of urgency following Hurricane Katrina prompted the authorization of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) to lead state efforts to restore and protect the Louisiana coastline.  CPRA oversees the Coastal Master Plan, which currently recommends 124 restoration, protection and risk reduction projects over the next fifty years. The Coastal Master Plan combines projects that restore, build and maintain coastal wetlands aimed at reducing flood risks for coastal communities.  Katrina reminded us that our once healthy wetlands served as a powerful barrier to storm surge. The plan includes a few projects that will affect New Orleans and the surrounding areas including the Central Wetlands, the Golden Triangle and the New Orleans East Land Bridge.  

The New Orleans East Land Bridge is not just a priority project of the city, but for the entire Lake Pontchartrain area.  This large-scale marsh creation project, located in eastern New Orleans, is located in an eroding series of marshland separating Lake Pontchartrain from Lake Borgne.  The Corps has identified the land bridge as a critical feature that serves as a crucial line of defense from storm surge for nearly 1.5 million people in eight parishes, including the cities of New Orleans, LaPlace, Madisonville, Mandeville and Slidell.  Like many of the projects included in the Coastal Master Plan, the majority of the New Orleans East Land Bridge has not yet been funded.  Money from the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) has been used to complete only a few small components.  

Early in my legal career, I had the unique opportunity to work on Hurricane Katrina litigation.  Serving as a member of the Norman Robinson v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers trial team, we filed a class action on behalf of plaintiffs for Katrina related damages caused by the Corps’ negligent maintenance and operation of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (known as the MRGO).  My work on the MRGO case spanned a number of years providing me with an extensive education on our city’s hurricane protection and levee systems, the ongoing battle against coastal erosion/ loss of wetlands due to subsidence and saltwater intrusion and the resulting loss of our natural hurricane protection barrier.

Should we fail to make significant headway in rebuilding our coast over the next ten years, experts anticipate a dramatic realignment of the lower part of the Mississippi River that would bring the mouth of the river almost to the city. Not only would this affect our people’s property and livelihoods, but much of the country’s bulk cargo passes through the mouth of the Mississippi River.  These undesirable alterations would affect the reliability of our shipping industry, impacting energy, agriculture and many other sectors. We should continue to work with our state and Congressional leaders to secure funding through federal programs such as the RESTORE Act, GOMESA, and CWPPRA, and seek new opportunities for funding.   

This brings me back to the Lion King.  We must work together if we want to protect our shared values and way of life, so that future generations might enjoy them.  Time, however, is not on our side. We are at a critical juncture where we must elect new leaders, who can effectively advocate about complex issues and treat them with the sense of urgency they deserve.

RESOURCES:

http://coastal.la.gov

http://gnoinc.org/initiatives/product-development/coastal-restoration/

Kea Sherman is currently a candidate for the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 98

2 thoughts on “Flood Protection is Critical

  • August 19, 2019 at 11:22 am
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    THIS HAS BEEN A SHAM DELUSION BEFORE HURRICANE BETSY.

    WHAT A WASTE OF HUMAN TIME AND LIFE,

    IT IS OVER, IT WILL AND CANNOT BE STOPPED.

    WASTE WASTE WASTE,,,, BY SORCERERS WARLOCKS WITCH’S !

    IN 50 YEARS THE NEW GULF COAST WILL BE INTERSTATE 12 !
    THEY KNEW LONG AGO !

    Reply
  • August 22, 2019 at 9:11 am
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    Basic Science and The NOLA City Council? Uh oh!!!

    LBRC- NOLA Negligence increases Water Levels and Flooding, devasting Citizen  properties! Duh? Anticipate Court Actions at Citizen expense with respect to remedy, more sooner than later! More increased fees to cover liabilities? hmmm…

    1. Why hasn’t Sewer Maintenance kept pace with debris? What does “Maintenance” do? “Public/Private contracted out- How’s ‘Dis been working for ‘yah NOLA? What do massive Water Bills and pending actually cover besides a slush fund, pun intended? 

    2. How in the Heck was Cedric awarded $14k to “Decorate” his office? Keep this real, Cedric’s hire and elaborate retirement Golden Parachute was a Mitch Political Quid Pro Quo? Only Stupid and those needing 2 hrs. to watch 60 min. say otherwise?  Duh?

    3. How in the heck do you hire a so- called “Out of Town” expert and the “Last” ‘thang they check after massive local flooding, personal citizen dollar losses are sewer paths? Chronic NOLA flooding is Common Knowledge! Sewer paths are avenues by which water gets to pumps? Delivery is a System, right? Duh? 

    4. It’s not just blockage of Sewer Lines increasing H2O Levels Imhotep! For example- 

    a. Fill a glass 1/2 full of water. 

    b. Add ice.

    c. What happens to the water level? Clue- it rises? Therefore- Not only are Sewer Lines plugged with debris, but even where no blockages exist- Debris raises water levels “TONS in NOLA LINES, think the ice Einstein! Water levels will rise higher due to debris in lines plus and/or blockages, just like water rises in a 1/2 filled glass of water when ice is added. Debris increases density! “No 2 things can occupy the same space at the same time, meaning? When debris enters sewers, water has to move vertical/horizontal!  In NOLA this means up and over!

    5. How does any mayor/President S&WB or other official claim competence when Sewer maintenance and consistent “Scheduled Clean outs” of Sewer in a “Flood Plain” and “Hurricane Prone” City is an after thought and De Facto non existant? Regardless what you say, “What had had happened is…”? btw- *Our astute young students want, request and demand this (So and btw- Debris vs Density and increased heights?)- 

    (Density/D = D=m/V, or density (D) is equal to mass (m) divided by volume (V). The calculator can use any two of the values to calculate 3rd Values. Density is defined as mass per unit volume. Density Calculator p = m/V ). 

    6. Just as Egregious- The Entergy Gas Oven Project? Efforts to educate the NOLA City Council fell on “Deaf” ears, why? Either Council is and was in the pockets of Entergy totally and seeking future employment, Quid Pro Quo or/and are basic Science ‘Ignants! 

    b. Heat is a Hurricane fuel source! How in the Heck do you construct a “Gas Heat Oven”  in the heart of a Flood/Hurricane Plain in a “Majority Black” Community? Answer? Say “Environmental Racism”! Sold out Negroes? The people didn’t  want a Gas Oven, especially when the process was corrupted! Hello? “The Court Agreed”! What does The NOLA Council do? They spend precious citizen taxes to overturn a Court Decree in favor for ENTERGY!!! Who pays and will? Mary, Joseph and Marta Caroli…! 

    7. “Culturally Generational” Property Values have increased 100- 300% fold (Help us Expose these Negroes Nat’l/Int’l)! NOLA S&WB has fixed more increases aka “more pain and little to no gain” and flooding never abates! However, let’s be fair- Who is responsible for who’s in office besides commercials and slick mail outs? “Stupid is as Stupid does”, right? Peace Out… 

    Reply

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