State’s diversion plan subject of Chamber lunchSep 23rd, 2013 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: News
The muddy Mis- sissippi is no more. Leveed up, there is no more overflow of the banks in upriver states, meaning there is no more sediment in the water for the state’s master plan of diver- sions to work, said George Ricks, presi- dent of the Save Louisiana Coalition (SLC).
He and Coalition Treasurer Kerri Callais Lubrano, who works in her family’s ice busi- ness, spoke at Wednes- day’s St. Bernard Chamber lunch.
As a fisherman in both recreational and commercial industries, he is adamantly op- posed to diversions, three of which are be- ing planned in St. Ber- nard, and another on the St. Bernard/Plaque- mines Parish line in Braithwaite.
But Ricks argues that diversions are not the answer and points to the Mississippi River at the Bird Foot Delta.
“That’s the big- gest diversion in the world,” said Ricks. “Where’s all the land?”
The state acknowl- edges that fishing will change. They say it will just be pushed far- ther out, but Ricks and Lubrano say the sea- food industry will be a lost permanently.
Seafood is a $4 bil- lion industry for Lou- isiana. The Breton Sound and Barataria Estuaries are brack- ish— a mixture of fresh and salt water.
SLC sees diversions not only destroying the delicate salinity balance, but also flood- ing river water full of nitrates, fertilizers and other pollutants from upriver states.
Each year a dead- zone forms when these pollutants reach the Gulf. With no oxygen in the water, wildlife
Dredging is the key
“What’s the alterna- tive plan? Dredging,” said Ricks.
Historically it has worked; Bucktown was built with dredged material. Islands in Plaquemines last year were built in four days by pumping this sedi- ment, he noted.
“The only way we’re going to win this is to show the people in Ba- ton Rouge that we’re standing together,” said Lubrano.