Army Corps of Engineers "Actively Managing Collapse" of Mississippi River Delta Ecosystem

NWF, EDF Support Louisiana Initiative to Seek Commerce Secretary Intervention

11-23-2009 // NWF & EDF Staff

New Orleans– National Wildlife Federation and Environmental Defense Fund "fervently" support the state of Louisiana’s initiative announced this afternoon to seek the intervention of the U.S. Commerce Secretary to stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from mismanaging the Mississippi River Delta Ecosystem.

In a statement endorsed by National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund General Counsel Jim Tripp wrote, "The Corps is actively managing the collapse of the Mississippi River Delta Ecosystem, and Congress has not authorized that purpose. This on-going collapse is contributing to increased instability of the navigation system, mounting vulnerability of oil and gas infrastructure and reduced vitality of Gulf fisheries, assets of national economic importance, and undermining the integrity of urban levee hurricane protection systems."

Tripp, who serves on the Louisiana Governor's Commission on Coastal Restoration and Conservation, went on to state that the Corps’ mismanagement of the sediments of the Mississippi River is contributing to the collapse of the coastal delta ecosystem. Water and sediment which used to be naturally deposited into the deltaic ecosystem are now confined by navigation and flood control levees and dumped off the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

"Since the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is playing a leading role as a member of the White House Coastal Mississippi - Louisiana Restoration Working Group, this intervention also provides the Working Group with an immediate opportunity," concluded Tripp. "It can begin the process of redirecting federal management of the sediments of the Mississippi River away from the 20th century acceptance of delta collapse towards a 21st century engagement with sediment reintroduction and delta restoration. Such an orientation is both consistent with and ultimately necessary for flood control and navigation."

To read Tripp’s full statement, visit http://www.edf.org/documents/10608_CoastalLAConsistencyStatement112009.pdf.

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