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- To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
- Subject: the Delta, rebuilding
- From: "Andrew Kester, PE" <akester(--nospam--at)cfl.rr.com>
- Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2005 13:06:44 -0400
Some interesting things I have read lately about New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta are the negative effects of the levees and flood control devices, as they are somewhat counterproductive. Nature's way was to allow silt and sediment from the mighty Mississippi to constantly build and replenish the Delta area by creating land and marshland. But with all the manmade activities upstream, the sediment no longer flows correctly and they were losing many miles of Delta every year, not to mention what Katrina wiped out (the arial pics of the coast before and after are striking). The Delta is the best form of storm surge protection, and the flood control devices were actually speeding up their disintegration. So from what I understand as an engineer/ semi-educated layperson, simply rebuilding the levees stronger or more seawalls will be counterproductive unless they address this natural rebuilding process. As a person who reads a lot about hydrology and coastal construction, historically, the Army Corps has realized many of their projects end up doing more damage then good in the upper Mississippi and Ohio River Valley, along coasts with seawalls (encourages erosion), and the billion dollar Everglades project to name a few.
So I hope everyone has learned by all this history and we do not rush into any rash decisions or solutions either way. I have had a lot of fun times in New Orleans, some sad ones (watching my Noles lose a National Championship), but overall I would be sad no matter what if New Orleans was not at least partially saved. And its maritime and fossil fuel importance alone will save it in part. But I did hear someone say something to the effect of why don't we move everyone out of Florida because we get hit by hurricanes. The thing is no other city sits so vulnerably, and we all knew this, as New Orleans. But if you ask me, us humans have been pushing it for a long time with where we build things- right on the coast, on low lying islands, near faults, on the side of mountains, the entire countries of the Netherlands and Bangladesh, etc.... But it really is too late for all that. We cannot really move NYC, Baltimore, Boston, Miami, etc to higher ground. But I do think we need an honest discussion of what we should rebuild and where do we go from here.
Give until it hurts........
Andrew Kester, PE
Structural Engineering Consultant
Lake Mary, FL
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