I have decided to address the issues of wetlands conservation in Louisiana briefly in this post. In the past I have conspired for significant political change which would address the challenge of wetlands and coastal preservation and restoration along with many other issues that would be addressed only in the context of some very large political changes. This post is sort of an admission of defeat compared to those nearly forgotten goals. On the other hand it is for more than I am ever likely to see happen.
1. I would like to see some kind of stimulus fund used to by not one very large single tract but a series of many smaller tracts operated as a single National park with a total of perhaps 100,000 acres in all from the Atchafalya Swamp, the Chandeleur Islands, Cheniere Au Tigre, Grand Isle, Vermilion Bay’s coast, the Mississippi natural levees, and Ile des Dernier among other places.
2. I would like to see each oil and gas drilling and production corporation which has a part in developing the resources of Louisiana’s share of the Gulf madeto participate or have its own artificial barrier island. Each of these would have to include a fish hatchery, a wetlands plants nursery and an artificial beach as well as a grassy wetlands section of several times the dry acreage on the inland side of the island. These islands would also have to hold a clinic, a regional drilling office, serve as a juncture for pipelines and have a public docks and small hotel. On the gulfside of the islands the corporations must operate or lease out underwater habitats and laboratories joined to a central umbilicus running up the island. The islands must be built of at least eighty percent certified clean waste such as wrecks, broken concrete, compressed and sealed garbage and other materials.
3. A Louisiana State Park should be set up in long lanes connected to several giant purification and oxidation farms worked by convicts and detainees as well as other workers. Part of this farm would be leased out as cattle pasture to offset expenses. As much as possible of emergency drainage and partialy cleaned sewerage would go from the cities of South Louisiana to these farms. After going through a simple plant and oxidation ponds the waters would go through an artificial eco system until reaching the park lanes. These lanes would resort to canals and pipes where necessary but would generaly run as continous fishing, hunting and camping stips of wetlands and coulees dep into the Gulf waters.
4.The lanes would enter the fully flooded areas and there would be an artificial long island causeway with many breaks through which as many as possible future pipelines should be run. The surface of this would have to be ninety percent suitable and reseved for ither simple recreational use or pure wildlife reservation.
5. There would be a designated spillway zones between the island causeway and the ends of the lanes. These zones would have a concentration of wetlands preserves, erosion fences and jetties and all of the storm water pumps sediment rich floods and excess waters which could not be used in ordinary diversions would be pumped ad diverted into these areas. The state would also operate commercial species hatcheries and nurseries for seafood supported by a special tax and operate lease and overseen new oysterbeds in this zone.
6. When this was done a series of sites for artificial islands set in between and landward from the oil and gas islands would be leased to casino resorts.
7. A series of levees and canals would be built around and between the lanes which would try to use existing structures and make a coherent feature of wildlife, wetlands, transit and drainage policies.
I expect things would be far from perfect if we did all of this. However, I also expect this is far better than the horror to which we are headed and have always been headed.