MR-GO where you think you’re going?

Hurricanes don’t have any trouble following MR-G0, the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, but following the related court and Corps action is an entirely different matter.

The Times-Picayune recently ran a story on the Corps’ proposal to rebuild the wetlands MR-Go destroyed. Expecting the decision had some relationship to or impact on the court case, Robinson v Corps of Engineering, I checked the case website but found little changed from that included in the case background posted on SLABBED.

Plaintiffs contend that because of the Corp’s negligence in designing, construction, maintenance and operation of MRGO, it caused the surge during Hurricane Katrina to be 3 feet greater than it would have been otherwise. Plaintiffs argue that the cause of that increase was that: (1) the loss of the surrounding wetlands with the creation of MRGO; (2) the failure of the Corps to armor the banks of the MRGO which caused further harm to those wetlands and (3) the “funnel effect” created the design of the MRGO and its relationship to other waterways surrounding the metropolitan New Orleans area.

The biggest surge to hit MR-Go since Katrina has to be the docket on the case in Judge Duvall’s court – a docket that from October 15 forward alone copies to 21 single-spaced, letter-sized pages because the MR-GO case is part of the larger Consolidated Canal Breaches Litigation!

Most of the October action has been on other of the consolidated cases.  Nonetheless, there were significant developments in the MR-GO case as you can tell from the time line in the case management Order issued on the 9th of October.

The Plaintiff’s response (opposition to summary judgment) due on the 22nd is available – although I’ve yet to locate the motion filed by the defense) – and for who know the Corps’ plays and players better than I, here are the Defendant’s lists of possible witnesses and exhibits.

All of this court action follows the release of a Congressional Research Report, Federal Liability for Flood Damage Related to Army Corps of Engineers Projects on September 4, 2008.

I’m not certain where the report “fits” in the big picture; but it’s interesting reading on flood damage and the Corps in general.  I found this section related to the role MR-GO played in the breach of the levees particularly interesting.

…Another theory of causation is that the levees were overtopped or breached because the storm surge was enhanced by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO). MRGO (also known as Mr. Go) is a 76-mile navigational channel between the Port of New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. It is designed as a shortcut for ships.

Studies have reviewed whether MRGO became a hurricane highway, or a funnel, acting as an accelerator in moving water from the Gulf into the IHNC. IPET found that MRGO did not accelerate the movement of the water.

However, it did find that a portion of MRGO allowed the Lake Borgne waters to be pushed into the interior of New Orleans. IPET found that this connection amplified the surge level and velocity through the interior of the city and raised the level of Lake Pontchartrain. In turn, that increased the pressure on the levees throughout the area, according to IPET.

Clearly, MR-GO is going somewhere but according to today’s Ladder, there’s more to this story reported in the Times.

The Army Corps of Engineers has proposed spending $66.4 million to rebuild wetlands along the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet and in Lake Borgne and also armor part of the lake’s shoreline.

The projects are being paid for with money appropriated by Congress in 2005 to close the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, but represent only a small part of expected efforts to reverse the erosion caused by the 40-year-old shipping shortcut to the Industrial Canal.

The Times is back today with this followup:

U.S. Sen. David Vitter on Monday demanded the Army Corps of Engineers sign an agreement with the state of Louisiana — with terms favoring the state — that would clear the way for construction of a rock dike closing the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet by the beginning of the 2009 hurricane season.

The letter came as the state and senior corps officials continue to negotiate the terms of the agreement.

“The Corps is holding a gun to the state’s head, demanding significant state matches and contributions regarding the project which are inconsistent” with the congressional authorizations governing the closure project, Vitter stated in his letter…

Hopefully, wherever MR-GO is going next, someone will be there to catch the story!

9 thoughts on “MR-GO where you think you’re going?”

  1. In’forking’credible.

    Thanks for the reference, mzdoucy, but errrah, compared to this Full Metal Jacket Supahero Congrooviation, poor Editilla jus’gon stand on the corner spitting greasy BBs and watch the parade.
    Jeez Louie.
    This is more fun than hunting boar with a pack of Catahoula.
    I mean, bird dogs, well…yawn,
    but then coon dogs will tree the quary,
    a pack of afghans can bring back a deer but it might take a while…
    ridgebacks will bring back the next lion after they’ve fed on the first…
    but Catahoulas, they have to piss-off the intelligent pigs so bad that they will chase them all the way into the trap!


  2. Now, doesn’t this look all tat’n’rat!

    It will probably be Ace Gumshoe Schleifstein on the trail here. Indeed he almost seems to be pacing his quary.

    Otherwise, I don’t know about that …”newspaper”… or how aware y’all are rat now of the Burr in Editilla’s Ass regarding the Times Picayune’s from the Corps <–whilst covering them with a Jury Pool –>drawn from TP readership whew! ok there <–buuuuttt Editilla has a Burr in my Ass about This. A Burr! Ya’heard me? So much so that we now post a Disclaimer/Bat Signal with Any TP article regarding the Corps.

    Don’t fucking screw with me over flood control.

    So disappointed we are in one other TP “reporter” that we have denied her a byline, cast it to the realm of Nameless –where YEA and VERILY they have no name, not even a hat check.

    Gambillero Winkler-Schmit (sp) also swings a mighty slugger. Gambit in general is fairly tight wit’da night but late in’da day.

    Face it, y’all, slabbed is Lucifer’s Hammer.


  3. oh how very scifi… the little arrow thingies I thought so cute must actually “tell” the “thingy” to Do Something (when attached just right)… like “vanish Editilla’s horse’doo”
    –sooo here is the statement sans cupid’s ammo…

  4. Gene Taylor hearing testimony, Oct. 18, 2005

    One of the things that representing south Mississippi I would like to bring to your attention is that none of the plans call for growing the Louisiana coastal marshes on the Mississippi side of the Mississippi River Gulf outlet.

    As someone who ran boats for the Coast Guard, as someone who actually went to high school and college in New Orleans, I am a bit more familiar with the Mississippi River Gulf outlet than most. I know that it has been under-utilized. It has also been a barrier to trying to get some fresh water on the marshes down in the St. Bernard Parish area.

    I would really hope that since we are giving so much thought to the future that you in your capacity as Mayor, you in your capacity as Lieutenant Governor would give some serious consideration and let the Mississippi River Gulf outlet just become a barge canal.

    It is a heck of a lot of money to dredge it. It has contributed enormously to the saltwater intrusion problem. It becomes a problem with trying to get fresh water over again on the Mississippi side, State of Mississippi side of that body. I think we would all be better served if you would give some serious thought to that.

    Second thing I would ask is, we are going to have some unique opportunities for fresh water diversion, either in places like the Violet Canal or even at the Industrial Canal locks. And I for one, knowing that area, resent when the New York Times and others called it a wasteful project to replace the Industrial Canal locks.

    Those locks are close to a hundred year old. There is a heck of a lot of barge traffic that has to wait for days to get through them. It is important to the entire commerce of the Gulf Coast that they be replaced.

    But I would ask that they be replaced in a way that helps not just Louisiana, but helps get some fresh water, again, from the Mississippi River, starts rebuilding the coastal marshes south of there. And Mayor, I very much agree with you, I do think part of the problem that occurred, not only in Louisiana, but in Hancock County, Mississippi, is because those marshes in St. Bernard are due south of Hancock County. Had those marshes not eroded to the point they have, they quite possibly could have lessened the impact on places like Waveland and Bay St. Louis.

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