Manual Perspectives on the Restoration of the Mississippi Delta: The Once and Future Delta

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Lock structure at terminus with Miss. Levees from dredged depth. Other features: levees, road and rail bridges, Levees, bridges, investments in community drainage and sewer siphons underneath canal. Conversion Altered salinity and hydrological regimes Projects halted by collective action, Army Corps of freshwater swamps to drained polders and across the region. Additional loss of 30 km2 coastal rolled back or expanded still has ecological forest near Manchac. Loss of with phase 3. Overall shift of 64 km2 of freshwater dominated wetlands to brackish or saline marsh and open water.

Congressional authorization and funding of close MRGO in exchange for lock replacement. The lock damages. After Katrina, pressure on the port of replacement on the Industrial Canal has been New Orleans resulted in Congressional de- help up in litigation by oppositional coalitions authorization of the MRGO project, and since the s. New Orleans and its eastern periphery. These events foreshadowed and Mississippi River compelled the same New Orleans-based port and helped produce the contemporary dispute over river diversions and maritime interests to take action to reassure nervous investors and port coastal restoration infrastructure that we will return to later.

On April 27, , the river levees downriver from New Orleans was not limited to sewage-laden drainage failed at the town of Poydras in St. Bernard Parish, opening up a rift or water. The Army Corps detonates the levee at Caernarvon, This event became synonymous with the territorial dominance of New Orleans in the water politics of its periphery. Source: NOAA. Some residents of St. Army Corps of Engineers as the central agency in charge of managing Bernard Parish looked with suspicion on the crevasse, wondering the entire course of the Mississippi River.

Floodwaters collected in the tens of thousands of tribu- the Mississippi River system for waterborne commerce. The levees and control structures on Barry, Further, engineers voiced serious concerns over the new the Mississippi also ensured that its freshwater and sediments stayed ship locks that connected the Mississippi River to the Industrial Canal.

This of their Centroport project — a new shipping canal connecting the In- achievement by the Army Corps served to place millions of people out dustrial Canal to the Gulf of Mexico. As the river rose, St. Furthermore the intentional small river vessel near Poydras, killing one of its passengers Barry, breaching of the levees in validated the suspicions of many St. They Caernarvon makes such accusations plausible from the point of view of mobilized their connections within national engineering agencies and St.

Bernard residents. The crevasse decimated fur trapping in the political networks to ensure that the Army Corps and the State of Breton Sound estuary, just adjacent to Lake Borgne. While muskrats, Louisiana were behind the plan, which left opponents in St. Bernard coastal communities of lower St. Bernard Parish Fig. Bayou Bienvenue marked in green. Levees in red. A new storm surge barrier was constructed here following Katrina. Base imagery Landsat 8. In , livelihoods in St.

Bernard government weighed in on the impending project with federal engineering agencies was beginning to take root. The Parish. Coast from Florida to the Mexican border. The route of this channel During times of hurricane conditions, the existence of the channel essentially replicated that of Bayou Bienvenue, but straighter, with will be an enormous danger to the heavily populated areas of the standardized dimensions, and without the complication presented by Parish due to the rapidity of the rising waters reaching the protected the pollution from the New Orleans drainage system.

No matter how small a southern portion of the Lake Borgne estuary, in St. Mexico Fig. As Fig. As typical freighter sizes distributary of the Mississippi, which had historically regulated salinity grew rapidly after the Second World War, the ship lock on the Industrial between the Lake Borgne estuary and the Breton Sound estuary. This Canal, protected at St. Source: Times-Picayune, 23 July The coastal forests they dynamited here succumbed to salinity stress following Hurricane Betsy in Bernard The white residents of the Ninth Ward moving to St.

Bernard in Parish near the town of Meraux, about 4 miles 6. Opposition to this new lock and nomic grievances voiced by St. Residents of the Ninth Ward had dealt with all manner of Shallat, , demonstrating a capacity to mobilize collectively on disruptions in drainage and sewer services during the excavation of the water infrastructure issues.

Bernard Parish has origins be- for nearly three years while the siphons were completed NOSWB, yond struggles over infrastructure. Racial segregation and the politics of The civic associations in St. Bernard and the Ninth Ward com- white supremacist populism are also an important facet of the cleavage municated regularly on environmental concerns beginning in the that emerged between the two municipalities.

Bernard Parish that signaled its growing urban and February The New Orleans public school the Lake Borgne estuary. The in- Orleans settled in suburban subdivisions in St. The Centroport students, all girls, walked through the crowds under armed guard to plan included provisions for housing laborers, despite the transition attend classes.


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Bernard and Pla- shipping Cowen, Before almost no integrate Wells, By it was the most densely put pressure on St. The storm surge devastated much of St. Bernard Parish and the ecosystems Tiner, As the canopy died out, only large ponds of open water damage than any storm in US history up until then. Betsy also trig- surges than coastal forests. Instead, periphery against the third phase of the Centroport plan Shallat, , engineers found that their interventions tended to exacerbate already Betsy demonstrated how storm surge posed a serious threat not existing issues like subsidence and saltwater intrusion, presenting them only to the coastal zone, but also to New Orleans itself.

Immediately following the storm, St. Bernard residents to close the channel and address the changing surface layers. Every time the Army Corps dredged the bottom of the ecological conditions in the region Times-Picayune, 15 March In some locations, the original areas on either side of the Industrial Canal. Once the initial investments in canal infrastructure were made, Many ecosystems are dependent upon particular temporal patterns billions of dollars in additional infrastructural investments followed in of disturbances.

Carried forth by technical standards, infra- relating of the material path dependencies associated both with eco- structural zones have become embedded within these deltaic systems in logical regimes and infrastructural zones. More and more state capital and around New Orleans. Cen- infrastructurally mediated event. Saltwater intrusion or marine trans- s, from using Centroport. The dynamics of contention around Centroport illustrate the power Ecosystems can rapidly shift in response to these acute events. As we saw in our account of the chanism that distributes sediments and displaces tidal action.

Bernard government and coastal scientists had predicted. The produce and maintain an infrastructural zone made up of a matrix of storm surge that entered this basin during Hurricane Betsy became land and water conducive to the demands of global maritime transport.

Ernstson Progress in Planning xxx xxxx xxx—xxx Valley, where agricultural exporting states rely upon the Mississippi River and New Orleans to transfer their bulk commodities to ocean liners. Flyer from s protesting the replacement of the lock on the Industrial Canal. Without the MRGO open and dredged, wide and provided a legal framework for opponents to examine the large ships would not be able to access the Industrial Canal and existing activities of the Army Corps and other water planning agencies.

The Centroport terminals, and those facilities would thus need to be re- critical third phase of Centroport — the replacement lock and connecting located to the Mississippi River Slawsky, The maritime trans- channel slated to be cut through St. Since this time, the collective capacity chronic soil stability problems which demanded expensive, continuous of port interests has been weighed against the capacity of community dredging.

This is one liability than an asset for the Port of New Orleans.

Kundrecensioner

In the mid s, dimension of the politics of socioecological cleavages. Long-time activists who opposed surge up the MRGO, and [sic. Centroport described this frustration in our interviews with them. Despite dire warnings from dozens of along its banks in an attempt to prevent ship wakes from further scientists, environmentalists, and coastal communities that the MRGO eroding the surrounding marshlands.

July 9, Ernstson Progress in Planning xxx xxxx xxx—xxx Lake Borgne estuary can lead to one infrastructural zone undermining the structure of political opportunities again shifted, and opponents to the functionality of another. In break ground on the third phase of Centroport since , the project , the US Congress ordered the Army Corps to close the channel to received some limited funding to prepare the replacement lock site in ships permanently, and funded the construction of a rock barrier that the Industrial Canal in the late s, over the objections of many would close the gap and recreate the ridgeline that formerly regulated Ninth Ward residents Fig.

The Army Corps hired a contractor to salinity in the estuary. A report by a group of re- tion. This caused water to seep un- elevated substrate for fresh marsh and coastal forest plants to take root. In the words of the engineers: estuary in the 20th century Fig. Familiar Removal of barges, piles, underground storage tanks, and under- places and species were gone. A once-forested landscape became wide ground utilities e. Land was disappearing rapidly. Here we The breach that occurred was the most catastrophic of all the fail- observe a crucial paradox in the ecological history of the region.

Even without these catastrophic comes to implementing ecosystem-based strategies today. The events of sistent political divisions on water management policies. Diversions are created to introduce water and sediment from the Mississippi into 14 nearby estuaries and basins. The production of an infra- these excavations is ongoing. Salt-tolerant Baccharis hamifolia sprouting in the dead stumps of the bald cypress tree. This location is only 4 km from downtown New Orleans. Bayou Bienvenue passes just behind the tree line on the left.

Source: Joshua Lewis. The Save Louisiana Coalition SLC , a group founded with the explicit intent of opposing river diversions, was formed in Historical diversions: possibilities and problems with ecological infrastructure Fig. The Davis Pond diversion, upstream from New Orleans, one of several small- scale diversion built by the state of Louisiana beginning in to prevent saltwater While the massive diversion structures being considered for the intrusion and produce freshwater habitat.

The politics sur- rounding these smaller structures provides further context for the projects currently under consideration. Louisiana, The Caernarvon case illustrates that while diversion By the mid 20th century, increasing salinities in the Breton Sound of freshwater into estuaries may increase overall productivity, such estuary in southern St. It was thought by state and federal Caernarvon diversion.

Anti-diversion activists fre- Army Corps dynamited in This shallow rooting depth, public oyster seeding grounds Britton, State of et al. Ernstson Progress in Planning xxx xxxx xxx—xxx devoted to exactly this practice. Some prominent coastal ecologists like Dr. Source: The St. Bernard News, 23 September This fragmentation can also be seen as splitting along temporal, as storm surge on the freshwater marshes that emerged after the Caer- well as spatial lines.

Diversion opponents in St. Bernard frequently cite stopped that process. But this deep time perspective is typically in- these observations Fig. Diversion opponents, particularly those in St. This narrative coa- stakeholders. This is in some sense a product of the Fishing communities extend out St. Public meetings provide a physical tween them. While the plan and reproducing political alliances at the local scale.

Since the s, received unanimous support from state legislators in , resistance to St. Diversions are the chief infrastructural tool by actual material interests at stake and an orchestrated political drama which planners aim to prevent further catastrophic land loss in key that exhibits highly consistent features over time, and frequently re- estuaries. Another component of the plan that opponents have ques- ferential of previous disputes and events in framing sequential political tioned is the restoration of coastal forests, which dominated much of debates. Diversion opponents have suggested an al- Our observations conducted at these public hearings demonstrate ternative strategy, which relies on the dredging and pumping of river- how St.

Bernard residents have an acute awareness of how New Orleans bottom sediments into eroding areas, quickly building land without interests tend to dominate regional water politics, and how St. Bernard introducing massive quantities of freshwater at the same time Fig. In one public This is by far the most expensive land-building strategy in the coastal hearing in , following a presentation of the MRGO restoration plan planning toolbox, and nearly half of the funds in the current plan are by the Army Corps, the president of St. SLC Sign outside of a marina in coastal St.

January His presentation as- relation to the diversion projects is seen by some observers outside of sessed the merits and shortcomings of the restoration plan at great St. Bernard as disingenuous and hyperbolic. However, it resonates with length. Bernard Parish is more scale projects directed by New Orleans interests. Similar public com- than a barrier for the rest of metropolitan New Orleans.

Ber- St. As opposition to the diversions became more organized fol- nities with less political and economic power. This is especially true lowing the release of the Coastal Master Plan, the St. Bernard with regard to the diversion of the Mississippi River through St. Parish council voted unanimously in to ban the construction of Bernard. Diversion opponents in action: battle for the Bayou Bash 4. Memorializing historical experiences: solidifying a cleavage Beyond the public hearings around relevant projects, internal As part of the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan, the MRGO Ecosystem meetings and fundraisers are also important to instigate collective ac- Restoration plan includes a river diversion at the same location as the tion.

Internal meetings enable the recruitment of new support and to Port had planned its failed connecting lock and channel in the s. By observing a fun- This contestation in particular helps to deepen our understanding of the draising event organized by the Save Louisiana Coalition in , we fault lines of the socioecological cleavage we are tracing through the are reminded how the historical construction of infrastructural zones emergence of the counter-narrative.

Bernard are perceived and In a series of public meetings in , diversion opponents at- characterized to mobilize opposition to river diversions today Fig. Bernard Parish Civic kill us! Invoking the same existential urgency in Center.

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Ernstson Progress in Planning xxx xxxx xxx—xxx the contemporary politics around river diversions and coastal restora- tion. In the next section we turn towards a discussion of how scientists and state agencies have responded to the emergence of the SLC and opposition to river diversions. Memorial to St. Bernard residents who died during Katrina. The memorial sits river diversions and made available alternative interpretations of the along the banks of the MRGO channel.

A striking example that outlines the contours of this Source: Joshua Lewis. Prominent by a coalition of environmental organizations, the letter stated the case oyster distributors were also present. It began: people were in attendance. The treasure being lost brought the various groups together. This cata- Parish has become something like a whipping boy for the rest of the strophic loss is happening and will get worse as long as Louisiana state of Louisiana.

Bahr et al. The letter goes on to reference Later, Ricks returned to stage and invited St. Peralta explained that the St. Peralta stated that etc. He highlighted the sup- them farther from some parts of our coast. Clint Guidry In response, the Save Louisiana Coalition released a letter of its own of the Louisiana Shrimpers Association remarked that it was rare to rebutting some of the claims made by scientists. This is not true.

Kenneth J Bagstad, Ph.D.

We all would like to see 15 our wetlands restored and hope for a magic bullet to do it, but Baton Rouge is the capital of the State of Louisiana. Ernstson Progress in Planning xxx xxxx xxx—xxx considering the reality of sea level rise, geological subsidence, river design of these initiatives must be done with technical precision based on dynamics and many natural and man-induced liabilities, we need engineering and natural science, with so much as stake there is also a more critical and independent thinking in consideration of these growing concern that planning needs to be done with greater political huge and costly projects.

SLC, transparency than during previous decades. In our last section we will focus on pulling out key lessons that we believe our case study brings in Groups like the SLC who oppose large-scale river diversions have relation to planning practice in Louisiana and beyond. Discussion: implications for planning otherwise, for instance as here, to insist of the deep uncertainties that large-scale interventions carry.

This could potentially have major im- A strong theme in our account is how infrastructure, urban-regional pacts on how planning will be carried out since, if taken seriously, it politics, and ecological dynamics converge over time to generate dis- means that a wider cast of actors and associated ways of knowing the tinctive political situations and environmental justice dilemmas.

Birds of the Mississippi River Delta

The delta will need to be acknowledged up front in producing planning and historical narrative foregrounds the extant tensions between institu- action Whatmore, Such radical re-imaginations of planning tional power centered in New Orleans, and the coastal communities and practice might still not be there, but as we start wrapping up the em- ecosystems around the city.

Here in our discussion we will focus on three key arenas for deliberation. The panel is charged by the State of tion between planning and its bias as a discourse of the core. As has been the ment.

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If managers fail to acknowledge these historical dynamics and loss of livelihoods injustices, opponents have demonstrated that they are capable of slowing 2 Doubts as to the potential of newly built land to reduce storm surge down and obstructing the implementation of large-scale water infra- 3 Prefer smaller diversions instead of the larger planned diversions structures. As sea-level rise projections continue to alarm coastal com- 4 Prefer dredging over diversion projects munities globally, the politics around river diversions in Louisiana reveal 5 Flooding concerns and increased water levels the sort of tensions and potential impediments for large-scale coastal in- 6 Concerns regarding nutrients and invasive species from Mississippi frastructure planning moving forward.

River water 7 Large diversions take too long to build land 5. Socioecological cleavages and infrastructural violence For scientists and environmental groups, the Mississippi Delta cannot be sustained without the implementation of massive freshwater and se- Social inequality is inscribed in infrastructure networks, often in diment diversions. Ernstson Progress in Planning xxx xxxx xxx—xxx infrastructure violence in a article as intimately connected to a Scholarship on climate change adaptation has for some time dis- wider social order that both exerts and hides violence: cussed how longer time perspectives make visible politically charged issues of equity and justice Adger, ; Adger et al.

In relation to large- power in question is not only material, but also symbolic. This plays scale water control infrastructures designed as adaptation measures, into the political dynamics of these situations in two ways.

For large-scale planning, an ac- warranted. This boils down to a We could add here that if not tackled directly, the investments in central problem for planning practice in grappling with its own bias. This poses, we mean, critical political, greater empirical precision and analytical clarity to these ongoing dis- ethical, discursive and organizational challenges for planning practice cussions. While materially seeking to rework urban peripheries, it also implies a re- 5.

The canals and swamplands of Louisiana complicate matters fur- The deep uncertainties pervading large-scale infrastructure and ther. The discussions on infrastructural violence have so far centered on ecosystem-based strategies shape the politics associated with them. Our study highlights the growing chal- gitimacy to speak technically or morally of what to do.

In the from CPRA, This plan interestingly shows an overarching context of planning this has far-reaching consequences since unequal shift towards the dependence of ecological expertise in comparison to outcomes emerge from the intersection of infrastructural zones and previous large-scale infrastructure interventions that dealt with drai- ecological regime shifts. Ernstson Progress in Planning xxx xxxx xxx—xxx On the other hand, the resilience framework, both as a research problems, for which wider democratic practices and public disputes are program and policy framing, is underdeveloped with regard to histor- needed see below , they could produce a richer and more textured ical and geographical situatedness and it has been critiqued of es- landscape of knowledge in which planning practice can be situated.

This is illustrated for instance by Folke et al. Lodged edge production, which could help the wider polity of Louisiana to dig within consensual assumptions that seek to avoid disagreements deeper into what is known of the delta, but also how the wide-stretching Hornborg, ; Kaika, , such a functionalist view of knowledge delta is known—its dynamics, economic and cultural importance.

Indeed, as we saw in Section 3, scientists, consideration of a state-led planning agenda, which ultimately seems politicians and environmental organizations seemed to have been very much needed in some form to handle future sea-level rise, increase looking to secure consensus and a techno-managerial solution by re- hurricane activity and so on. Beyond knowledge: democratic practices and the political Arriving at this impasse, however, could also indicate constructive ways forward. Controversies terms problems can be framed. While supposedly open Ernstson, ; Evans, While more historical case studies are needed, we posit structural violence.

Rather, planning should be seen as in- environments, marginalized communities will need to develop political herently political, operating through a wider set of democratic prac- strategies to protect their interests, as large-scale ecological changes are tices, which ultimately might produce winners and losers. This expands being proposed and implemented in their immediate environs. Rather, these voices should properly be ecosystems, and planning disputes might be historically intertwined. As Zarycki Louisiana how deep-time and large-scale ecological dynamics intersect alluded to above, the center needs to be taught about their and become part of cultural, economic and planning politics.

They embed environments through constructionist knowledge production via competency groups in historical relations, politicizing environments and opening them up Whatmore, , might hold some promise for thinking through the for what our democracies were set up to handle — dissensus and dis- role of planning in relation to large-scale ecological interventions and content. In this regard, our case study shows with all clarity that in the asymmetrical power relations.

Indeed, the political community, here context of global climate change, much is at stake in Louisiana and consisting of St. Most munities and cultural worlds could come to be submerged by rising seas certainly, large-scale interventions of various forms are needed in or destroyed by storm surges. The wider questions on what to do, by whom, and where, requires not only more research, but also democratic 6. Conclusion institutional innovation. While widely touted by scientists and policymakers, planning for resilience along urbanized coasts implies a more-than-urban project.

We also thank the communities. The Swedish Research Council Formas is further acknowl- remote coastal landscapes. Cowen, D. The deadly life of logistics: Mapping violence in global trade. University of Minnesota Press. AAPA World port rankings. American Association of Port Associations. Crona, B. Combining social network Adger, W. Social- approaches with social theories to improve understanding of natural resource governance. Science New York, N Y. Read more Read less. Product details Paperback: pages Publisher: Springer; Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. Review From the book reviews: "This impressive collection of papers deals with 'the once and future delta, ' highlighting the current tumultuous state of the Mississippi River and its watershed.

No customer reviews. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Discover the best of shopping and entertainment with Amazon Prime. This is especially true for deltas because of their ecological and economic importance and their sensitivity to climate change. The Mississippi delta is one of the largest in the world and has been strongly impacted by human activities. Currently there is an ambitious plan for restoration of the delta. This book, by a renown group of delta experts, provides an overview of the challenges facing the delta and charts - a way forward to sustainable management.

Upper-division undergraduates and above; two-year technical program students. Pinet, Choice, Vol. JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser.


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