As the sand berms turn part deux: Dear Thad, time to end the madness.

The coastal science community continues to over fly the developing environmental catastrophe also known as the sand berm boondoggle as Bobby Jindal’s sand castles continue to wash away at the hands of our typical summer weather patterns.  Bonnie’s remnants probably did a good bit more damage. A few days before her passage, Coastal Scientist Rob Young wrote an open letter to Thad Allen calling for an end to all permitting associated with the berms.  This means Chris Roberts will have to eat those rocks that were purchased that he kept whining about on Anderson Cooper 360 but we’ve let the merry gang of political incomps do enough damage to the environment as it is.

Len Bahr featured Rob’s open letter over at Louisiana Coast Post, which was signed by over 20 coastal scientists. I’ve embedded the original to scribd for our audience.

[scribd id=34984055 key=key-u5r71elh9ptr1k4mu69 mode=list]

Speaking of Len, Continue reading “As the sand berms turn part deux: Dear Thad, time to end the madness.”

As the sand berms turn: Slabbed goes on assignment. Drake adds outstanding analysis.

Slabbed contributor Russell and I traveled to the campus of Western Carolina University last Friday and met with Rob Young, Professor of Geosciences and of the Director of the University’s, Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines. Our readers should well know Rob by now as his name has been mentioned here frequently of late last time being Thursday night passed just before he appeared in an interview with Anderson Cooper.

We had a wide ranging discussion that included barrier islands, coastal insurance issues, state wind pool solvency and of course Bobby Jindal and Billy Nungesser’s sand berm boondoggle.  Rob requested that I keep certain portions of our discussions off the record and I’m happy to honor those requests. The reason is not that he is hiding something far from it in fact.  Rather, it was because he complained, rightfully so in my opinion, about the relatively recent trend of the politicization of science and he did not want any of his remarks misconstrued.  I am convinced Rob is in this for the science and only for the science. This is what separates him from certain politicians whose initials are B.J. who likes to use science only when it furthers his political ambitions.

With that said there are three points that need to be made. The first is I have a boatload of links saved where politicians like Nunny, Jindy, Chris Roberts and others whined to anyone who would give them an open mike (ie Anderson Cooper) about the feds not letting them dump rocks around their sand berms but I have none of those links handy as I write this post. It is just as well because these blowhards weren’t saying anything of substance anyhow though I’m certain it made for good TV footage and news copy, especially when Cooper’s airhead replacement went stalking the Corps of Engineers on July 5th inquiring why they were not working with the now suddenly wanting to be cooperative Nunny and Chrissy as their permit to dump rocks was rejected. For the record the powers that be at the COE were evidently doing the same thing Anderson Cooper was that day in enjoying the federal holiday but I digress.

Second, regarding the rock addition to the sand berm scheme, if the new goal is to rebuild the barrier islands as Chrissy suggested, Rob pointed out to us that the endangered sea turtles which use the islands and beaches to breed can’t very well lay eggs in concrete and rocks. It is those pesky little details the politicians never seem to grasp that comprise the reasons the coastal scientific community are united in their opposition to the berms or more simply put, it is the science stupid. Continue reading “As the sand berms turn: Slabbed goes on assignment. Drake adds outstanding analysis.”

Slabbed catches up with Rob Young and his case against the sand berms

Lifers here at Slabbed no doubt remember our introduction of Rob Young to the Slabbed nation back in March 2009 and again early this year. Rob is a professor of coastal ecology at Western Carolina University and director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines and is attracted to our beaches like a fly to light. Naturally I was not surprised to find Western Carolina just issued a press release which announced Rob and team are joining the fray:

Scientists from Western Carolina University’s Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines are lending their expertise to help determine the best way to mitigate damage to coastal communities from the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The scientists from PSDS, an internationally known program that uses science to influence public policy affecting management of shorelines across the globe, are evaluating the many coastal engineering proposals for responding to the oil spill.

“So far, we have conducted two aerial reconnaissance surveys of the area that is being affected by this environmental disaster,” said Rob Young, PSDS director. “In addition, scientists from the program have been working on the ground in coastal Louisiana to assess the impact.” Continue reading “Slabbed catches up with Rob Young and his case against the sand berms”

Save our Barrier Islands and Coastal Marshes

Cat and Ship Islands - Gulf Islands National Seashore
Cat and Ship Islands - Gulf Islands National Seashore

It is said a picture is worth a thousand words and in these pictures are two barrier islands in the Mississippi Sound. As Nowdy would say they belong to you and me, preserved forever in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Part inspiration for artists and home to seabirds these islands protect the mainland from stormy seas. Still standing despite being hit by Camille and then Katrina 36 years later these islands are as important to the ecology of the Mississippi Coast as the marshes of Plaquemines and St Bernard Parishes are to New Orleans and the North Shore.

I’ve been holding this post since early last month beginning with the release of the revised Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program, a topic we’ve blogged on extensively here at Slabbed, most recently here and here.

While the story of the ongoing development of the Coastal Improvement Program is vital to the coast it has been one of those topics Nowdy and I simply don’t have time to cover right now due to time constraints associated with our day jobs thus it’s consignment to the dreaded drafts folder which is the slabbed equivalent of the roach motel with few ever making it back out. Thanks to a strangely out of context but well timed Op-ed in today’s Clarion Ledger this post literally has arisen from the stormy deep albeit in a differing direction.

Before we pick apart the Op-ed some helpful local context is in order. Continue reading “Save our Barrier Islands and Coastal Marshes”