Wetland Scientists, St. Bernard Parish Landowners, and 27,000 Americans Weigh In on MRGO Restoration
March 12, 2011 | Posted by David J. Ringer (Audubon) in Army Corps of Engineers, Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, Restoration Projects

By Amanda Moore, National Wildlife Federation

Illustrative Conceptual Plan of Restoration for the Central Wetlands

Illustrative conceptual plan of restoration for the Central Wetlands, an area badly degraded by MRGO. From MRGO Must Go Coalition comments and recommendations, p. 19.

The MRGO Must Go Coalition partnered with leading scientists and prominent landowners in St. Bernard Parish to submit detailed recommendations to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for review and incorporation into its final plan to restore massive ecosystem damage caused by the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet shipping channel. The recommendations were based on two prior reports released by the Coalition and reviewed over several months by a group of coastal scientists with expertise in the MRGO study area. In addition, approximately 27,000 restoration-minded citizens from across the country submitted public comments to the Corps supporting the Coalition's recommendations.

Key recommendations from the MRGO Must Go Coalition include:

  • Use the existing Violet canal corridor for the new Violet Diversion;
  • Develop a baseline and then a comprehensive restoration plan for the Central Wetlands;
  • Restore regional oyster barrier reefs along the east and north sides of the Biloxi Marsh;
  • Utilize external scientific input to finalize and implement the plan;
  • Use natural gas as a clean and efficient energy source;
  • Include a new channel constriction and additional bankline restoration of the MRGO channel;

The recommendations can be viewed in their entirety here.

“The Corps’ draft plan marks a long-awaited step toward protecting communities along the MRGO and moving forward on crucial restoration projects for Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes,” said Dr. John Lopez, Acting Director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. “The MRGO Must Go Coalition is pleased to partner with residents and landowners of St. Bernard Parish as well as coastal experts in the academic community for these important comments. Now, we look to the Corps to consider and incorporate our recommendations, which strengthen the draft plan considerably by offering implementable suggestions that will achieve better protection for our communities and a sustainable, healthy ecosystem.”

The MRGO Must Go Coalition, a group of 17 environmental and community organizations, served as a resource for the public comment period by providing insight and recommendations for the Draft Feasibility Report. The Coalition pulls together the voice of the community, independent scientists, and policy experts in an effort to move the best restoration plan forward and protect the Greater New Orleans area. Visit www.MRGOmustGO.org to for important updates as the draft plan moves forward.

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