Thursday, November 03, 2005

Scientific American: N.O. Flood Control possible, but wetlands are a key.

In 1998 scientists and engineers proposed a $14-billion master plan, which Congress never funded. Called Coast 2050, it detailed strategies to revive the delta and control flooding [see "Drowning New Orleans," by Mark Fischetti; Scientific American, October 2001]. Seven years and a bad hurricane later, the wetlands and barrier islands are so much more tattered that traditional restoration techniques may no longer suffice. "I raised this issue at a Corps meeting several years ago already," notes S. Jeffress Williams of the U.S. Geological Survey, who has studied the coast for 20 years. "It was not well received. But considering the rate of wetland loss, land subsidence, sea-level rise, and increasing frequency and severity of storms, the question should be on the table."

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