Still, the last major story, which I read on New Orleans, discussed how so many of the problems facing the Sinking City were brought about by the process of dredging the Mississippi and dumping the sludge into the ocean. Reading this stroke of brilliance brought to mind what I imagine the inventor of the wheel must have felt like when finally putting that device to practical and deliberate use.
Better late than never, eh!
Louisiana Builds New Land with River Mud
By Peter Henderson
excerpt from Yahoo Reuters' . . .
A pilot project at the river mouth shows how the hurricane-ravaged state may be able to rebuild its vanishing coast with fertile river bottom soil now dumped by dredges into the ocean.
Louisiana continuously clears the bottom of the Mississippi River to aid navigation, then dumps far offshore sediment that the river carries from tributaries in more than 30 states.
But recently a dredge clearing a few miles of the river moved the mud into nearby shallow water, rather than dumping it off the continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico.
The result: New terra, though not quite firma.
At the spot where the dredged sediment is being dumped, a roughly half-mile-square (1.3-square-km) patch of land has risen and a few wisps of green are struggling to take hold. The dredge has poured a combination of dark soil and river water through a pipeline to a monster version of a garden hose that releases the mess into the shallow brackish water.
Rebuilding such wetlands could help New Orleans absorb the blow of a future storm like Hurricane Katrina which devastated the city last year. Congress is considering bills that could pour a few billion dollars into coastal restoration in the state.
Louisiana's predicament is urgent. The state, which has 30 percent of the continental U.S. coastal marshes, is losing a football-field-sized piece of land to salt water every 38 minutes, according to the America's Wetland organization.