A coalition of scientists, environmentalists and politicians on Tuesday told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close — once and for all — a shipping channel that scientists say contributed to the devastating deluge of parts of eastern New Orleans, including the Lower 9th Ward, the home of Fats Domino.

The Corps is expected to release a report next Wednesday to outline what should be done with the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, a channel built in the 1960s that has destroyed hundreds of square miles of wetlands. It was built as a shortcut to New Orleans and a way to kick start the development of reclaimed swampland east of New Orleans that wound up drowned by Hurricane Katrina.

The coalition also issued a report, which said in part, “The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, known locally as Mister Go, was a bad idea when constructed and has become a worse one every year.”

The document, unambiguously called “Mister Go Must Go,” was handed out to members of Congress, who will have a say on what direction the Corps takes.

It is indeed time for MRGO to go. Click Read More for the reasons.

Again from WWL link…

The channel’s problems are well-documented. It’s caused widespread environmental degradation as it eroded and ate the surrounding wetlands and funneled the Gulf of Mexico’s salt water inland, thereby killing stands of cypress forests.

In all, the channel is blamed for about 922 square miles of damage to the wetlands southeast of New Orleans, the report said.

But that’s not all it’s done. Scientists and residents say the channel acted as a conduit for Katrina’s storm surge, causing water to stack up and overwhelm levees ringing the low-lying neighborhoods that developed in the past century east of the French Quarter.

One thought on “MRGO Must GO

  1. Sometimes a natural formation in a river or a stream is there for a reason. Screwing around with it can show us why. In Portland, we have Johnson Creek meandering along much of the southern city limits. Someone had the terrific idea a few years ago to straighten out a section of the creek, do some in-fill, and wah-la! new, very desirable lots for creekside houses.

    It didn’t take very long for Portland to figure out it was a Very Bad Idea. The section of creek that had been “improved” had acted as a natural sponge during times of heavy rain (Did you know it rains in Oregon?), absorbing excess flow. Without that area, homes and businesses downstream flooded with some regularity, sometimes more than once a winter. The City had to buy back the properties, and spent a lot of money restoring that stretch of the creek to its previous condition. But we don’t have floods every year along Foster Road.

    I’m sure the logic behind cutting the MRGO channel was impeccable. But it turns out to have been disastrous for the river system they were trying to improve. Restore the area; it’s embarrassing and costly, but do it anyway.

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