Tom Doyle, David Muth
Hurricane Katrina and wetlands
Airboat start up, idle, under way
Chris Swarzenki, Thomas G. Hargis
Hurricane Katrina and wetlands
Airboat start up, idle, under way
NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
16 Sep 2005
- Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve; Barataria Preserve
- 29.791 -90.147
TD = Tom Doyle
DM = David Muth
CS = Chris Swarzenki
Tom = Thomas G. Hargis
CJ = Chris Joyce
JG = Jessica Goldstein
Talking about plans
2:48 DM - this tall grass that looks like cattail is actually called giant cutgrass, Zizaniopsis, barbed edges, it will cut you badly and it is a favorite roosting site, during the day, of tree frogs. You can see right on these fronds here - tree frogs here and here. And my hypothesis for why that is true is that the - one of the main predators of these tree frogs is little type of Gardner snake called a riddler (?) snake and it is probable that they can't easily climb into this grass w/out cutting themselves to shreds. So I assume it is a protective thing, plus of course their color blends in nicely. But if you start looking at the fronds you will see more and more of the frogs. 3:34
3:34 - 3:59 bit of ambi right there
4:37 walking on planks of boardwalk
4:57 DM There is another little tree frog out on that Sagittaria leaf but they are on the vegetation everywhere here. This is frog paradise here. 5:07
5:59 - 6:40 ambi (nice crickets? Frogs?)
6:48 TD - we are just south of NO proper, southwest - 35 or 40 miles (this is muddled) from the gulf. One can take a boat from here and make it all the way to the gulf of mexico 7:08
7:09 CJ - so you might call this liquid land.
TD - oh definitely I like that term, LIQUID LAND. It is - water is the important compont of what is here and why it is here.
7:47 airboat motor shut down
7:52 DM - ok, can you take us all at once? All aboard!
8:05 DM - watch the fire ants!
8:51 some clanking as we get on the boat
**8:59 - 11:59 airboat start and then drive off, slow down, then drive faster and then shut down get out of boat
12:00 Thank you Tom (the airboat captain)
Walking off boat and talking in bg
Stop down for lunch
12:44 CJ - maybe it is time for me to put my boots on
We are with Chris Swarzenki? as he sets up his experiment
14:29 CS - I am Chris Swarzenki. I work with the US Geological Survey in Baton Rouge. (says it again) as a wetland ecologist hydrologist and we are here at Jean Lafitte National Park about 2 weeks after Hurricane Katrina coming to some long term stations that were (sp) with monitoring water quality and water levels some basic hydrology and chemistry of the marshes. We have 10 yrs worth of data out here at about 10-12 stations throughout the park and diff kinds of habitats. And this is our southern most habitat where we are at right now. From here, if you were on the water in about an hour and a half you will be in the Gulf of Mexico, direct line, there are no obstructions. And this marsh we are at is the most saline of the fresh water peat marshes in Jean Lafitte Natl Parks. The salinity of the soil here is the highest and the vegetation reflects that somewhat higher salinity. 15:39 we have sartina patons (sp) and something called scorpis aleinae (sp) at one point - the three cornered glass. I think it is shinoplexus ameracanus now (sp). This is more of - this is sort of in the boundary btwn brackish and intermediate marsh and salinity may be about 4 parts per thousand when the gulf of mexico maybe 25 parts per thousand and some of the other marshes we will look at today the salinities will be almost completely fresh, zero, half a part per thousand.
CJ - off mic - is this the first time you have been here since HK
16:12 - CS - this is the first time. Right now we are in a mode where we come out about every 3 - 6 months and check on some water quality. We have some instruments that are recording water level and marsh mat movements since a lot of these marshes here are floating and we download that data usually about 3 - 6 months apart. This is sort of the quiet phases of this monitoring. So first time we are out here since Katrina came through
CJ - (talks over CS's last word) - and you look around what do you see?
16:41 CS - this one side which is the southern most site has a very soft mushy organic soup of a soil (plane flies overhead)
18:09 - 18:24 ambi in area
CJ - first time you are out here since the hurricane, what do you notice?
18:30 CS - well the boardwalk that leads out to our station here where we monitor water movt and mat movt has been beat up a bit and part of it has broken away and the other thing is that there is a lot of open water where there used to be marsh and sort of like a puzzle shape. Little areas where there are ponds now maybe 20, 30 feet across before this was all kind of a solid marsh. This site we are at is the closest the salt water influence that comes in from the gulf of mex and storm tides and under a diff circumstances maybe through a hurricane, not in this one I don't think. And so the soil here is more decomposed, it is not a solid soil any more, it is a lot more soupy organic muck. A wind can easily move things around here. This is also a floating marsh here (he trips on this word) so it is detached - the roots aren't in any solid place soil here anyhow. So it looks like the wind moved quite a bit of the marsh around and has left a lot of open holes.
CJ - how resilient is it? Can it bounce back really quickly?
19:43 CS - this one, more than likely it is not going to be very simple to come back, simply bc of the soil and bc of the salinity. Further inland and away from the salt water there is more resilient type of marsh which will do a much better job of recovery but also bc it is further inland it wouldn't - I mean we will go there afterwards but it probably won't have been damaged the way this one was. When we came in here - we came in through a bayou, the shoreline probably was 50 to 100 feet further away so that we may have 50 - 100 feet of erosion just from the shoreline and then we have these little holes and craters that are in the interior of the marsh. This is an area that is one of the weakest points of the park's vegetation 20:32
20:38 CS - what we are going to do here hurricane typically, or may not typically, but may bring in salt water through some kind of a surge and what we are doing today is looking at all of the sites that we have - that we have been at - with historical data and see if salinities are anywhere out of the norm and my expectation is that they are not out of the norm bc on this quadrant of the hurricane there really wasn't that much of a surge 21:04 but we want to check it and verify that salinity wasn't an issue with this storm 21:12
21:41 CS - Tom did you see if that was them out in the lake earlier?
Tom - no couldn't tell
22:16 setting up his gear
23:33 CS - I have a syringe and a sipper tube, a core water sampler to suck up water samples from different depth beneath the marsh surface. Right now I am trying to figure out what the marsh surface is. It has been rearranged rolled over a bit, so it isn't clear what the original marsh surface is but once I find that I will take diff depths and I will take water samples and I will look at the salinity. 2400
24:16 - 24:29 ambi - as chris getting samples
CS - I purge a sample or two before I start taking a reading - (as he talks squirting water out) - I try and only get the right water
25:47 **good squirt CS - this is a fast simple measurement. We just look at what the conductants and the salinity is of the soil, and if we see anything that looks way diff than what is usually here then we will come out and do some diff kinds of sampling to see what the salinity could be doing. But this is a first indicator
26:16 ** good squirt
26:37 Tom (airboat driver) - the conductants is 1631, temperature is 30.3; salinity is 0.8
CS - we do this at 4 diff depths all the way to about a meter below the ground surface to get a profile. The marsh is a floating marsh and sometimes salinity may actually come in under the mat. So now I am going to the next depth.
27:27 ****good squirt (but cut off at end)
27:54 ** good squirt -
CS - is there a swamp tour around the corner?
28:17 - Tom, the driver - the salinity is 0.8, conduc. Is 1599, temp is 30.0.
28:33 CJ (off mic) kind of like taking a blood sample
CS - it is basically it (laughter)
28:39 - CS It is a quick initial look at what is going on (airboat getting louder in bg). What we can see from the numbers is that this is nothing out of the ordinary. Now we are at about 1 part per thousand salinity and during droughts like during 2000 this salinity here got up to 8 parts per thousand, so it was a lack of rain, just a long term no rain situation that raised salinity here, but now with the hurricane on this side of the storm there was just not a big salt surge at least we can't see anything in the soil 29:10
CJ - off mic - is most of the change here from wind or surge?
29:24 CS - a combination. I think the water levels where about 2 feet above normal, but under normal circumstances this marsh can just float up and it will just float back down, but when you combine it with the wind as we have seen in a lot of the tree fall here there was a lot of wind gusting and I think it actually rolled some of this marsh or compressed it on top - where I am standing now looks like a foot above water level, if I wasn't sinking 29:50 (gets phone call)
Good squirt with phone ring over it
30:39 - CS - ok, I got enough tom.
CS talking on the phone¿.talking about their boat (the other boat) not working¿.
31:49 CS - more than I expected - the gauge is almost in water now.
32:13 Tom (boat driver) - 1607 and on the conductants and 30.7 on the temp 32:24
32:33 CS - what the profile of salinity is showing is (this top part off mic) is a very even profile. It is the same salinity on the top as on the bottom. So it is a very typical of a floating marsh. There is not a whole lot of stratification and in a regular marsh that doesn't float maybe the salinity at depth would be higher then near the surface so this shows a pretty normal situation in terms of salinity. Salinity is very important for all of these peat based or root based marshes. If it gets to high it can kill the vegetation out right and it can also setting in motion some decomposition prophesies which really tear this - weaken the root mat and that's not good for this kind of highly organic marsh. Here there is - the soil is prob 80 - 90% root material or organic material with maybe 10 or 15 parts of very fine clays 33:29
33:47 good squirt - but plane flies in
34:03 squirt with plane
34:20 Tom - here salinity is 3.1
34:29 CS - it is high but this is beneath the floating part of the marsh and the solid soil, so this is where it should be. So we are measuring 3 and that is pretty typical of this vegetation. The upper floating part, I guess a lot of fresh water got in underneath it and it is only less than a part. Down beneath the floating part we are getting 3 parts per thousand
Tom - the conductants (off mic) is 5.81
35:08 CS - so the salinity is the most important thing and what we are learning here is that the hurricane did not change the salinities in - it may have even freshened up a little bit bc of the associated rainfall. But what the hurricane did do here is bc this is per se a weak soil root mat, it has rearranged a lot of the marsh and created a lot of little pockets of ponds and stuff that wasn't here before. So the wind from the hurricane this site definitely was impacted, but in terms of water quality and salinity it isn't an issue it is a wind and somewhat high water combination is the issue. 35:53
36:40-38:36 ambi in area ** good ambi
39:03 CJ - what they are trying to do is drag the boat around bc it doesn't go in reverse drive our way out of here by root force
39:23 - CJ - we are somewhere in Barataria which is in the JL - Jean Lafitte - Barataria Reserve (and off mic from CS - it is a preserve bc they have to - about when park was originated and re. to hunting)
39:52 CJ - so we are somewhere in the south part of the Barataria Preserve in JL NP in the southern most part of a freshwater marsh checking the salinity of the water to see what the hurricane did to it. It is pretty much a flat expanse of what is known as a floating marsh. Not the kind of place you want to walk around very much bc it won't support the weight of certainly not me. But it is a great place for birds and insects and anything that lives in the water like frogs and alligators¿. 40:38
40:52 CJ - we got here on an airboat down some channels that have been driven into the marsh for various purposes for boat traffic and the oil industry and then the airboat basically goes over the marsh with a little assist from a water jet that comes out of the front of the boat to wet down the grasses so the boat can go - driving right over the grass and that is really the only way a boat can get into a place like this
42:25 Tom (boat driver) - we are taking a core from this marsh where the coring device is - got a razor blade end on it. A clear acrylic tube so we can see if there is any compression and it has got a suction component on it. Compression is when - compress when you are trying to take a sample - bog
**42:58 - 44:00 good slurpy boggy sounds as core coming out of marsh
44:01 CS - so Tom Hargis here pulled up a 4 inch diameter plug of floating marsh soil and you can see that it is very well decomposed which means that the organic mater has been broken down and it the only thing remaining is very small, mushy, very organic material and if this was closer to the water - and you would rinse it with the water and it would look like coffee grounds - it is what we call it here. Just this beat up, or ground up organic matter. And this is what we walk on. About 4 or 5 inches of very undecomposed root material and then after that it is just a big soup. And when you look at that soil it is not that surprising that the wind along with some high water would rearrange the landscape and move 10 foot 11 foot diameter pieces of marsh around and later on we are going to look at a site where the root mater looks very fresh - a sponge, a fiber network. Very undecomposed material that is growing in a low salinity fresh environment and the soil, bc of where it is growing does not decompose. So this is the most threatened floating marsh habitat in Barataria preserve and we are going to go in the most protected zone in about an hour or so - the 2 extreme environments we have in the preserves in the marsh 45:45
CJ - you need us to get off this thing so you can turn it around?
Tom - 45:49 - might be a good idea
47:03 - fiddling around to get boat unstuck - loud motor - no good
47:16 better boat - motor not as loud - rocking boat but you can't hear any of this
47:45 CS - bit more up there - if you can find it yeah, let's go up there -
LOUD boat motor
47:56 boat motor slower¿..48:12 - 48:26 louder boat
48:27 boat motor loud then slows down
Encounter boat that broke down
Off mic - USGS boat?
48:56 CS - damn right! not starting anymore?
Talk off mic
49:03 - CS - is it starting?
Talk about getting boat started
49:30 - off mic DM - you know what else about this USGS boat of yours? There is not even a paddle in it. I have to swim back! You and your USGS equipment!
49:56 - DM - I decided to stop messing with it
CS - and hope that I can mess with it
Talk about getting boat starting
51:29 starting up airboat and then stopping it
Work on getting motor boat started
57:46 motor boat working again
58:49 motor boat
Lot of diff boat - motor boat
1:01:24 DM - when you all were coming up from the southend along the shoreline of lake Salvador I think chris may have pointed out all of the loss of marsh that took place during this storm. It looks like in some places shoreline may have retreated 50, 60, maybe 100 feet and that has been a problem here for a long time. We have aerial photography going back into the 30s and we know that this shoreline has been in rapid, rapid retreat bc we you have a big lake here, a tidal lake and this organic marsh here. And in trying to decide what to do about that and if to do anything about that we have decided tried various things over the years. Normally in a natl park, all things being equal, if some natural event that is going on that is causing erosion or something we wouldn't intervene. That problem that we have is that we don't have any real sense of what the natural rate of erosion is here in the delta bc we have so fundamentally altered the hydrology here. There is no river sediment coming in, there is no river water coming in. there are canals everywhere that have changed the volume and intensity of the tidal movements and in the meantime we are sitting here watching the park wash away retreating 45, 50 feet a year on average on this shore line and in a storm event like this, as you saw down there, retreating much further. So as I say, we looked at a lot of solutions and in the end we came up with the lowest tech solution we could find which is this rock revetment along the shoreline here. Not a very satisfying solution, not a very natural solution, but until this system is back in some kind of balance, until the river is putting water and sediment into these estuaries it seems our obligation to hold on to what we have and one of the things I wanted to see today was how the rocks held up. 1:03:37 now where there are no rocks along the shore line down there - as we say we are going to have to look at the photography, but we may have lost several hundred feet and many acres of marsh in this one storm event. Here you can see the rocks - these rocks that were put in in 1995 held up quite well and in fact where you see the trees growing there that is part of what the rocks have achieved is that they have trapped sediment behind them so that we now have the trees growing here which gives us an added additional protection. 1:04:12
CJ - those rocks - they look like they have been built up on top of something - are they sitting on a barrier or the marsh itself?
1:04:23 DM - what was done is that they put a layer of geotextile either on the slopping edge of the marsh where it met the lake . where that was not sufficient they actually put a little dredge material and geotex on top and put rocks on
1:04:41 DM - geotextile is like filter fabric. It is one of those woven plastic fabrics, what they use to put under roads these days and you can use it in your garden to put mulch on top of it. The problem here -
1:05:41 DM - it is the brownest I have seen this water in a long time. I guess it just the storm (off mic talking with CS)
1:06:0 TD - ??? this lake is its orientation. It has actually got a southwest, northwest orientation which catches many of our winter fronts that come in - the storm passages that come in through the winter. So it can catch a pretty fine fetch on this end of the lake.
1:06:29 DM - that is the whole history of this lake. It was probably started as a marsh pond 5000 years ago that kept getting bigger and bigger. So to some extent the erosion is natural, but until we have some sense of what the rate of natural erosion is we felt it was necessary to start protecting something. But it has worked. The problem here - the reason we need the geotextile - before you hit any mineral - you go about 9 feet here - 9 feet of organic muck here and then there is some thin clay silky layers there is no sand - we probed down 90 feet w/out finding anything that ws hard enough to driev a pipe into (chris talks over last words here) right out there in the centFer. So this kind of stretched the imaginations of the engineers. They had never quite dealt with the foundations conditions like this when they designed this. 1:07:20 TALKING ABOUT design with corps of engineers designing¿..design it held up¿..
1:07:41 DM - this was kind of experimental section ¿. Built protection out from a prehistoric Indian midden - a clam shell midden - a grand site called grand coquil. Which is right up here. We are going to go up here and take a look at that and then move on. 1:08:01
1:08:10 airboat start up and move
1:08:52 DM - we are now at Chanier Grand Coquil. You see these big oaks that have been severely beaten up, in fact it looks like we have lost a few bc there is prob a missing oak or two. This is what is known as an Indian midden. This was an Indian village on the shore of the lake. When Europeans first arrived here it extended another 500 or so feet into the lake and of course eventually a village a hunting and fishing village grew up here, but there were people inhabiting it back into the late 18th century - Europeans. The Indians were here about 12 hundred years ago and of course one of their food items was these brackish water clams that form the clam shell midden. So you had this big high island in the marsh with live oaks growing on it. (off mic - the island was made basically of clam shells) just generations of people eating clams. It was also eroding at a rate of about 5 feet a year, but as it eroded it built this shell beach that you see here behind us. But bc we were losing it we were losing archeological material from an old Indian site we went ahead and extended the protection here, and again it also seems to have held up quite well.
CJ - protection being rock - revetment
1:10:44 DM - and bc we couldn't come up to the shoreline here, we didn't want to take any chances of disturbing the material that was below the lake bottom that was on the midden. We went further out than we have in the rest of the park and we also took some of the material in order to get the barges in here to do this was actually fairly good soils here. We had to dredge a channel and that dredge material is actually what these islands are. And we're actually going to plant those islands with live oak so they have the same give the same sort of landscape feel that had been here before which is an island of live oaks on the shoreline.
CJ: live oaks hold sediment together?
DM: Well the live oaks will hold the island together. Will hold the higher ground together. And live oaks do remarkably well in hurricanes compared to water oaks. You go back into the parks or the forests a huge percentage of the water oaks are down or severely broken. Even live oaks that get topped by a storm like this wehre most of their branches get knocked off, the trunks almost never come down. So they do¿Deeper roots, much harder wood. I mean a live oak will stand dead for 30 40 50 yrs. Its incredibly hard wood so, you can see that one over there is beat up pretty bad but still standing. And Believe me this isnt' the first hurricane to hit that oak tree and it will be back again in the spring.
what people are going to do
faint voice: compressed marsh. Pushed against each other.
CJ: did wetlands mitigate effects of hurricane?
TD: Well, what we've learned here already is we've lost a number of these trees standing hardwoods native hardwoods in the (??) sections of this park which we expect will be replaced by an exotic invasive species Chinese tallow. And then along the marsh side of things most of the damage has where there's high wave energy along the lake shore. Which has been a continuing problem but storms bring acute and more exacerbated shoreline erosion, more in one single swamp. Its important that we figure out how to slow this process down because at one point or another this organic marsh will continue to erode at rates that in a matter of years we can predict most of it will be gone. So fortunately for this system, storms that pass on the east side do cause some erosion on the side but doesn't get the full strength of storms equiv to the Breton sound, marshes that are on the eastern side of the miss river South of new Orleans. But hurricanes are an acute formidable forces that can change the system quite rapidly. We may see that by and large its going to be more a matter of how it's going to change the composition of forest community on the (??) and a matter of of of losing more marsh on the lake side of the system. It looks like the marsh that's entrained in the center of this park that's mostly a floatam (?) a floating marsh is rather intact and protected, but in time that's not going to be the case if we don't control this erosion on the outside. So this buffering that's allowed is necessary so coastal restoration is a really important priority for Louisiana wetlands it's going to be really important for this individual national park here in the Barataria reserve of shaw?? national historic park and preserve.
JG - introduce
TD: I'm Tom Doyle, I'm a research ecologist.
Wait for helicopter to pass.
CS: Faint in BG w. loud helicopter:
Wetlands part of fabric of south Louisiana. Whether or not they would have buffered storm for new Orleans is more of an iffy thing
I'm willing to say that
CJ: it's not a claim that I was going make
??: Faint: I don't think it's an iffy proposition at all.
What would have stopped it?
This was a levee breach. I'm talking about Katrina going
CJ: this is the way science works, man.
??: you know, in 1965 betsy put a storm surge into the same areas that got the storm surge this time, st Bernard, lower 9th ward and that those levees then were only 5 feet high.
They are now 14 ft high. One of the differences here is not just the size of the storm, there was nothing left in st Bernard to stop this surge the miss riv gulf outlet is more than twice the width it was in 1965 or more 3 times the width. And it was just a, it was just a knife in the back of the city. Thats why the water came up and did what it did. And¿
CS: ¿wetland, it would be different. If it
CS: there's no doubt if mistigo is a straight channel that goes right into the into some of the bays and the gulf of mexico and it's a straight shot into new Orleans. and what Dave Muth was saying was that it brought in a huge surge of water and that's true. Um, every storm will be different and in some instances wetlands will buffer them and in some instances I don't think they will.
CJ: barrier then levees on north create V. channel the water and make it higher than it would be otherwise.
DM?: I agree with that. But if the water coming up to that point of a V were fighting the friction of a marsh underneath for 30 or 40 miles which is what it was in 1965. the energy that hit those levees would be a fraction of what hit it this time. And the same thing could have happened. Had Katrina come in 20 miles west of where it did. The horror stories would not be about what happened in st Bernard and new Orleans. The horror stories would be what happened on the west bank of Jefferson parish. Because from here south, what had been thirty miles of marsh, is now essentially gone. And all of that energy that could have been absorbed all of that friction every blade of grass, and every shrub and every tree on a natural levee is slowing that water is creating eddies in the water is making it harder for the water to move forward. If that storm surge is moving over an open bay it will continue to build and that is one of the reasons that the system designed after besty in 1965 is so vulnerable now. because it was designed with the city was still surrounded by a 30 foot wide buffer of marsh. it doesn't have it anymore.
CJ: 30 what?
30 mile wide - and that's an average. Obviously there are places where it wasn't that and places where it was more.
DM?: but all of that's gone. And I really believe that is an essential reason why the system conceived in '65 and updated in '98 is simply no longer adequate to protect the city.
CJ: what do these systems entail?
DM?: I'm talking about the levee system that now surrounds the city and the suburbs. They basically designed that system like everything else that's ever done - you design a system to save you from the last catastrophe. The last catastrophe in new Orleans was besty. Which flooded st Bernard parish, the lower 9th ward, the two areas that also were flooded this time by storm surge. The main part of the city that flooded, that had nothing to do with storm surge that was levee failure. And not because the levees were topped, and the diff between is, in those levees in st Bernard parish and in the eastern part of the city of new Orleans, the surge went so high it over the tops of the levees. Those areas filled up in seconds and minutes. The breaks in the levees which occurred west of there in the city of new orleans and cause all that flooding, those were where flood walls collapsed but not because water went over the top. They simply collapsed under the pressure, and then gradually filled up the city. So they're two totally different events. But the height of that surge I think was substantially higher. ¿ now, I don't have any expertise in this, but I've certainly read a great deal, and there are calculations, you know, that a mile of marsh has this effect on the size of a surge. And when there's no marsh, there's no effect, and that's what we just saw.
CJ: but there's plenty of marsh¿
DM: there's a fraction of what was there in 1965 and furthermore you know, we thought Camille was the worst that could ever happen to the miss. Gulf coast. Remember Camille got got kicked when it crossed the delta. It crossed the delta before it hit the miss gulf coast. When it crossed that delta it took fifteen feet of water over the lower miss river delta. But it slowed it down, it took a lot of its energy away. It built back up as it crossed Breton sound and then into miss sound and then hit the miss gulf coast. This storm did almost exactly the same thing. It came in a little west of where Camille came in.With a much bigger surge. But slower wind speeds. And I would think that part of that was it wasn't passing over as much marsh as Camille was to get to the miss gulf coast. So the size of the surge there may in fact have been in part because there was less of Louisiana to protect Mississippi. 'member the miss gulf coast is north of the delta. You go south from waveland or bay st louis or Biloxi, and you hit the toe of the delta.
CJ: cs what do you think
CS: the question is what kind of wetlands can you still build as long as you keep the river behind the levees. And whether you can ever build the wetlands they way they were in 1960 or 65 given the constraints we have on using the miss riv. And at that point then it becomes the issue of whether you can build the wetlands so that they can function like they used to. And that is maybe not as simple anymore of a problem
CJ: do you think its inevitable that ppl will dismiss biologists claims? "Just tree huggers"¿ we need to develop.
CS: That's pretty difficult question. Lots of implications. You can look at it from many many different ways. I don't know. Can you spend enough money to fix the wetlands without changing the river at some fundamental way and without intervening in that cycle of a thousand years of switching of the river, where you make a difference. I mean no matter how much money you spend, you may not make a difference, and
CJ: can you have cake and eat it too.
DM?: Well, I wouldn't put the question that way. Can you maintain the port of NO and oceanic shipping and still divert enough of the miss river water, its sediment and freshwater to rebuild, and the answer is absolutely yes. It's just a question of money, it's just a question of engineering and money. The cheap way is the way we're doing it now, and it just cost the nation 300 billion dollars. So ask yourself the question, was that the smartest thing we could have done. You can take -- We can get shipping to the port of new orleans without using the miss river to maintain southwestpass. Its done all over the world, it's done at the mouth of the rhine. The sediments there, the freshwater there, you can rebuild Louisiana's marshes over the next 50 years. Its just a matter of making the decision and doing it And if this doesn't spur us to do it, we'll never do it.
faint informal talking
DM?: chris is saying that its not political likely that they'll divert the Mississippi, but I'm saying they have to.
CS: there is so much different stuff ¿
DM?: Can we rebuild the marshes the way they were in 1718? No. [< faint] [ok >] but can we get back to where we were 50 years ago? We can get pretty close over the next 50 to 100 years if we're smart. But I'm not, I mean, I'm all in favor of all of the technological fixes we can come up with. Everything that we do should be about maintaining the balance between a developed corridor of cities and industry along the miss riv and rebuilding the wetlands that surround them and protect them and create the culture down here. And its doable it's just a matter of making intelligent choices, and we haven't done that very well up till now.
boat engine starts
END OF TAPE