The growing vulnerability of the New Orleans area is forcing the Army Corps to begin assessing repair work, including raising hundreds of miles of levees and floodwalls that form a meandering earth and concrete fortress around the city and its adjacent suburbs.
“These systems that maybe were protecting us before are no longer going to be able to protect us without adjustments,” said Emily Vuxton, policy director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, an environmental group. She said repair costs could be “hundreds of millions” of dollars, with 75% paid by federal taxpayers.
…The agency’s projection that the system will “no longer provide [required] risk reduction as early as 2023” illustrates the rapidly changing conditions being experienced both globally as sea levels rise faster than expected and locally as erosion wipes out protective barrier islands and marshlands in southeastern Louisiana.
…“We should be looking at higher than a 100-year standard, but not through levees alone,” Lopez said, calling for Congress to pay for natural barriers that build up coastal buffers. “We need a higher standard, but it should never be a single-type solution because we’ve seen that doesn’t work.
Given that both climate change and the desctruction/erosion of the evenvironment at the mouth of the Mississippi were already a given when the project started one is compelled to wonder if the underlying thinking behind the Army Corp’s approach to the situation is not deeply flawed from the get-go.