Coastal advocates and public officials will meet Aug. 29 in Thibodaux to discuss ways Terrebonne and Lafourche can adapt as the Gulf of Mexico continues its march inland.
The Coastal Wetland Communities Adaptation Leadership Forum will be led by America's Wetland, a group that has pushed for solutions to help Louisiana adapt as wetlands erode, land sinks and seas rise. It will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Student Union's Plantation Suite at Nicholls State University. Video from the forum will be streamed live at americaswetland.com.
The America's Wetland Foundation led a similar forum in 2011 in Terrebonne Parish to discuss findings of a multi-million-dollar study that pinpointed how vulnerable homes, roads, levees and other coastal community assets are threatened by flooding and storm surges. The forum focused on steps needed to make the community more resilient.
"As southeast Louisiana residents now consider new and more-dramatic land-loss predictions outlined in the latest state coastal master plan, we again return to seek information from community, business and civic leaders and discuss projects that will be of benefit," the group said Friday in an email newsletter.
The master plan, updated and approved last year, predicts Terrebonne will lose 41 percent of its land over the next 50 years under the medium estimates for coastal erosion, rising seas and sinking land. And even if everything gets done within the plan’s time frame, the work would only cut that loss by 35 percent.
Land loss predictions for Lafourche are almost identical. The plan raises serious questions about how much residents can depend on Lafourche’s levee system to protect against hurricanes. And unless major work gets done quickly, Port Fourchon, an oilfield service hub and one of the area’s biggest economic engines, will go underwater along with La. 1
The forum will address opportunities for transitional and innovative projects that align with community goals, the group says. Projects will complement those already in the master plan.
As examples, the group cites a project it announced in May in Pointe-aux-Chenes and along Bayou Terrebonne in southern Terrebonne Parish. Companies invested $3.4 million in the projects, which aim to restore 125 acres of wetlands with an economic value estimated at $1.2 million a year.
The group says it has secured a long list of participants for the forum, including R. King Milling, chairman of the America's WETLAND Foundation; Terrebonne Parish President Gordy Dove; several state legislators and representatives of various coastal-advocacy groups.
To learn more, visit americaswetland.com.
Executive Editor Keith Magill can be reached at 857-2201 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @CourierEditor.