Hi and welcome to the Coastlines Blog. We hope to deal with all things coastal whether they be surfing conditions or sea level rise. Right now we have major issues with erosion on all the coasts and problems with siting nuclear reactors at the Fukushima power plant in Japan.
We even have a happy situation in New England where Tuckernuck Island has been accreting and may soon attach to Nantucket. It is seldom we see this much geological change in such a short period of time and may cause more than a few cocktails to spill on that venerable island.
However I believe right now the most immediate problem facing us are the floods on the Mississippi River. They could lead to a potential Katrina-like catastrophe when they reach New Orleans.
The Army Corps of Engineers is considering releasing more than one third of the flow of the Mississippi down the Atchafalaya River. Right now the equivalent of seven Niagara Falls spills into the Atchafalaya making this the second largest River by volume in the United States.
In 1973 the dam preventing the Mississippi from flowing into the Atchafalaya almost broke. The dam was vibrating so much it ignited coal in a nearby railroad car. If the Corps were to make a mistake, the Mississsippi could divert totally down the Atchafalaya and run the risk of an arm of the Gulf of Mexico transgressing north to inundate both New Orleans and Baton Rouge. At the least the Achafalaya vulnerable floodplains will be flooded.
Sediments from the floods are already clogging the lower Mississippi and may affect shipping. The sediments should also be used to rebuild the marshes to protect New Orleans from future hurricane Storm Surges. See “Just Seconds From the Ocean,” and “The Well From Hell,” for further discussions on this topic .
Please feel free to add your insights and comments. We are looking for reporters who can give us reports on the problems facing their particular geographic areas.
Just to introduce myself, I’m a former consultant for the NOVA series on PBS and the author of over a dozen books about coastal topics. My latest is “The Well From Hell; The BP spill and the Endurance of Big Oil.” You can see more about my books in the about section of this site and on www.strawberryhillpress.com.
Thanks, Bill Sargent