I read with interest the recent commentary from Chip Kline, chairman of the Coastal Protection Authority, regarding the state’s lost opportunity to benefit the coast with the sediment from the high Mississippi River water levels. The Bonnet Carre Spillway has been opened three out of the last four years because of high water in the river. The extended periods of high water are causing stress on the levees as well as navigation issues in the Mississippi River.
We are seeing levee failures in the Midwest, and what a catastrophe that would be if that were to happen here in Louisiana. Maybe the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to rethink its management of the Mississippi River and start embracing major sediment diversions between Baton Rouge and New Orleans as part of its flood control plan.
Three or four strategic diversions like the proposed West Maurepas Diversion near Union in the 2017 Master Plan could easily divert over 100,000 cubic feet per second from the Mississippi into the dying wetlands on both sides of the river between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Such a change in strategy would be a double win for both flood control and coastal restoration. Furthermore, these diversions would have less impact on the saltwater fisheries since they would be at the top of their respective basins.
Eddie J. Lambert
vice chairman, Louisiana Senate Natural Resources Committee