Your land, my land – and we’re at risk of losing more than Louisiana

wearenotalone-us-map-of-loss-risk22This land is your land. This land is my land. From the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters, This land was made for you and me

Seventy miles south of New Orleans, on the eastern end of Grand Isle, a small tide gauge records the Gulf of Mexico rising against the surrounding land. The monthly increases are microscopic, narrower than a single strand of hair.

Climate scientists recording those results think they add up to something huge. The gauge, they say, may be quietly writing one of the first big stories in the age of global warming: the obituary for much of southeast Louisiana.

losing-la475-top1The Times Picayune is recording, too – and you don’t won’t to miss the series Losing Louisiana.  Read the rest of the lede story in Part 1 that published this past Saturday.

The series is exceptional in every way – so language rich that two paragraphs into Part 2 that it begins to feel like you’re watching a movie as you engage every sense while reading the story and that’s before you get to the equally remarkable graphics.

From atop the bridge soaring over Bayou Lafourche, a sweeping panorama of the southeast Louisiana coast unfolds. Scattered strings of green marsh break up wide expanses of open water. Pelicans swing on the breezes. Fish jump across the waves as crabbers and oyster harvesters pursue their livelihoods in a postcard scene of a rich life close to nature.

But Windell Curole, whose family has lived here for five generations, can’t find the beauty in it. He sees tragedy. “When my grandfather was a boy, there were cotton fields here,” he said waving his hand in a 180-degree arc that took in mostly water. “But in just 50 years, it became marsh, then it became open water.”

The culprit: subsidence of soft marsh soils, combined with coastal erosion.

Part 3 published today and my heart began to break at the thought of what may be lost without swift and certain action.

On a hot summer afternoon, as laughing gulls, terns and brown pelicans glided above, two front-end loaders dredged sediment from a channel through rapidly eroding marsh, piling it high onto a newly created barrier island.

The island, just north of Port Fourchon on Louisiana’s central coast, is part of a strategy aimed at protecting the nationally significant port, which is the jumping-off point for supplies to most of the 600 offshore oil platforms nearby. Those supplies come south to the port via Louisiana 1, a skinny highway bisecting a thin mesh of disappearing marshland.

In the coming years, Port Fourchon will become an island.

And Louisiana 1 will become a 20-mile-long bridge…

Links to the stories and related graphic illustrations are listed below – but there is much more to the series and you really need to see the interactive graphics.  Make this series your holiday reading and saving this land that was made for you and me one of your resolutions for the new year.

One thought on “Your land, my land – and we’re at risk of losing more than Louisiana”

  1. Gracious! Y’all are really swangin’da 50 pounder on the posts today, and yesterday, so I just didn’t know where to leave my little… errrah, ahem, litter. So this one gets the stripe.
    Mainly as I spotted the graphic on the TP wetlands story, it resonated with my day on the Exquisite Corps. It started with that graphic. When I went to that page on Nola.com, there sat another one of those Expensive Tax-funded Public Relations Flash Ads (ETFPRFAs) that always puts a flea up Editilla’s ass, that the Corps pops out at $2500 per package on the TP, right there next to the byline.
    So I snapped a shot and hung it on the Ladder.
    Then I read Grissett’s Advertorial on the Modeling problem. Van Heerden looks like an idiot. They don’t even say the name of Robert Bea, referring only to “a paid litigant consultant” or some such trash. OK, normal morning so far.
    The I get word from levees.org that the Corps has sent her an apology. Oh? You’re going to send it to WWL? Oh? NO!
    I asked them not to publish this apology because it is PR 101: when caught red handed use plausible deniability. When the levees.org video makes it to Michael More’s blog and onto #4 on the You Tube home page, issue an apology and say it was just one person attacking levees.org. And give your word it won’t happen again.
    Oh, and mention Reducing Risk for good measure.

    So they sent it on to WWL.
    http://www.wwltv.com/topstories/stories/wwl121808apology.76794735.html
    Soooooo…
    Now, folks, we can just let that issue drop.
    The Corps has apologized. Nothing to see here.
    Move along. The Corps has everything in hand.
    The Colonel has reinforced the staff. He gives his word for the Corps and we all know that we can trust the Word of the Corps of Engineers in New Orleans.
    No more problems.
    It was just a rogue employee acting alone. Nothing to see here move along. Move along. If you bring it up again then you really will be picking on the Corps over a dead issue. We’ve apologized so drop it.

    Those weren’t usace or asce IPs I saw all over my own blog stats.
    It must have been all those hallucinations they promised me back in the 60s!
    That wasn’t a Corps employee who came onto my blog Dec 8th to insult my readers (you) and deny that he worked for the Corps, not even the same one they mentioned in the news broadcast Monday (the 15th).
    Must’ve been another stevo.
    Sorry to have bothered y’all with all of this.
    It doesn’t matter any more.
    The Corps has apologized. It won’t happen again.
    Pay no attention to that man behind the levee.

    All that work and no pay makes me
    Silly Editilla

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