In a guest editorial published in the March-April issue of the international journal Ground Water, hydrologists in Louisiana suggest adoption of evolving management plans that recognize engineering, economic and hydrologic realities is key to sustainable development of the Louisiana coastline.
Authors Richard F. Keim and William J. Blanford state that historical hydrological management of the Mississippi River and its delta is partially responsible for the increased vulnerability of coastal infrastructure and culture, and effectiveness of levees can be improved by combining wetland restoration and flood-protection efforts synergistically into a single effort. Hence, construction of a “category 5” levee, which is proposed by some, is not a substitute for wetland protection.
“The health and susceptibility of any levee system will be matched by the health of the natural systems and care and attentiveness to which we pay to both,” state Keim and Blanford. “Incorporating natural systems as integral to a functional levee system will allow humans to continue to live in precarious coastal communities.”
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