Jun 01 2006
A little known fact is that the tip of Louisiana is sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. Has been for decades if not longer. Some if it has been accelerated by development – much of it attributed to the dikes erected all along the Mississippi River to control flooding. When we stopped the flooding of the River (back in the 1800’s and 1900’s) we seriously reduced the amount of sendiment that washed out into the Louisianna delta. The delta retained itself by rebuilding with the silt.
After a hundred years or so the lack of silt has caused New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana to slowly sink. Again, this is not new and has been known for years (as I reported here back in August 2005). What is new is recent satellite data shows that the New Orleans levees had been in areas sinking much faster than realized, and it was this sinking that made the TOO LOW to stop a breach:
For example, the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, built more than three decades ago, has sunk by more than 3 feet since its construction, Dixon said, explaining why water poured over the levee and part of it failed.
“The people in St. Bernard got wiped out because the levee was too low,” said co-author Roy Dokka, director of the Louisiana Spatial Center at Louisiana State University. “It’s as simple as that.”
The subsidence “is making the land more vulnerable; it’s also screwed up our ability to figure out where the land is,” Dokka said. And it means some evacuation roads, hospitals and shelters are further below sea level than emergency planners thought.
Will this be reported by the finger pointing media? Don’t count on it. Until they can figure out how to blame Bush for this it will go unreported.