Filed Under:  Environmental, News

Environmental issues a concern for the future of Louisiana

3rd September 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Nayita Wilson
Contributing Writer

The rapid loss of Louisiana coastal wetlands continues to provoke state, local and community leaders to fight for funding for coastal restoration projects. According to The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s (CPRA) 2012 Coastal Master Plan, which outlines a $50 billion vision to protect the state’s coast in the years ahead, Louisiana has lost already 1,880 square miles of land over the last eight decades.

The threat of more land and communities vanishing off of the map raises greater concern, as scientists and coastal specialists predict that Louisiana can lose an additional 1,750 square miles of land in the next 50 years.

The master plan, however, presents concepts that experts believe can protect and restore Louisiana coasts by focusing on: structural protection, bank stabilization, establishing bioengineered oyster reefs, ridge restoration, shoreline protection, barrier island restoration, marsh creation, sediment diversion and hydrologic restoration, which restores redirects fresh water to areas that were once cut off by manmade inventions.

All of the projects focus on the Southwest, Central and Southeast coasts of Louisiana, and the entire master plan is available online at www.coastalmasterplan.la.gov.

Hurricane season and the eight year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina presented an opportune time for leaders to focus on the coastal issues as well as the need to fund projects detailed in the master plan.

Panelists addressed such issues from governmental, community, policy, tourism and economic stances during a multi-denominational prayer breakfast at the Tremé Center last week.

The purpose of the meeting was to call the community together to support national “climate change” initiatives.

“We’re having this prayer breakfast because we have a moral obligation to the future generations to ensure that tragedies like Hurri­cane Katrina do not happen again,” said Norma Jane Sabiston, member of Louisiana’s Climate Action Committee.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond of the Archdiocese of New Orleans said that symbolically, the water tragedy of Katrina was a destructive force, a cleansing force as well as a hope for rebirth. He then encouraged attendees to be very concerned for the future, to pray for God’s wisdom and enlightenment and to take action.

“Together we must be concerned, together we must pray. Together we must act,” Aymond said.

Panelists included: Louisiana House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tempore Walter Leger, III; New Orleans City Councilmember Kristin Gisle­son-Palmer, District C; Charles Allen, director of coastal and environmental affairs for the City of New Orleans; Anne Milling of Women of the Storm; Telly Madina of Oxfam America’s Coastal Communities; Mark Romig with the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and LaTanja Silvester of SEIU Local 21LA.

This article originally published in the September 02, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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