'All things coastal' commentator condemns sand berms

by Mary Tutwiler

It's always interesting to discover a new blog site dedicated to things Louisiana. It's always interesting to discover a new blog site dedicated to things Louisiana. My latest find is the website lacoastpost, which is the brainchild of Len Bahr, Ph.D., formerly an LSU coastal science professor, who served between March 1991 and October 2008 as a coastal science and policy advisor in the offices of Louisiana Govs. Buddy Roemer, Edwin Edwards, Mike Foster, Kathleen Blanco and Bobby Jindal.

Bahr is a highly respected scientist in the difficult field of coastal restoration. Now that he is no longer employed by state government, lacoastpost is his unfettered forum on all things coastal.

Bahr has been hammering on Governor Jindal's sand berms since May 11, when he first heard the proposal for walling off the Gulf to keep the oil out of coastal marshes. It's informative to read back through Bahr's posts since that time. He offers strong arguments that the berms, like the levees along the lower Mississippi river, will contribute to coastal erosion.

On June 28, lacoastpost reported on a series of Hesco Baskets, continuous cloth baskets filled with sand, being placed for miles along Holly Beach. Earth moving equipment scooped up sand dunes covered with vegetation, which the state had been nurturing as storm surge protection since Hurricanes Rita and Ike. The "Great Wall of Holly Beach," as lacoastpost called it, was evidently built by the Louisiana National Guard under the direction of the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness. The baskets were overwhelmed by the storm surge from Hurricane Alex.

Bahr, and other commenters on the site find the Hesco line a ludicrous waste of time and money, considering the oil spill is nowhere near Cameron Parish. To read more from Bahr, go to the lacoastpost website.