Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The coastal restoration plan arrives

State finishes draft plan to protect coast:

"Among the larger projects in the plan are:

-- A floodgate at the Rigolets, near Slidell, and a dike stretching southwest from there down the middle of Lake Borgne to Proctor's Point in St. Bernard Parish. The intent would be to protect New Orleans and communities fronting on Lake Pontchartrain from catastrophic storm surge.

-- Essentially abandoning increased levee protection of much of Lower Plaquemines Parish for the sake of protecting areas farther up river. The state proposal calls for slicing Plaquemines into three levels of levee protection, with only the areas closest to New Orleans receiving 'Category 5' protection; areas between Oak Grove and Myrtle Grove receiving protection from a 100-year hurricane; and areas to the south of that receiving no greater protection than existed before Hurricane Katrina.

-- Closing the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, or MR-GO, the controversial 76-mile shipping channel that connects New Orleans with the Gulf of Mexico. The channel is blamed by many St. Bernard Parish residents and some hurricane protection experts for amplifying Hurricane Katrina's surge and hastening the loss of an estimated 27,000 acres of marshland that once shielded the metropolitan area's eastern flank."