As part of its Blue Ribbon Resilient Communities initiative (BRRC), America’s Energy Coast (AEC) held its second BRRC Leadership Forum on May 16 and 17 in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. The focus of the forums is to bring key stakeholders together to discuss the threats and opportunities in communities throughout the Gulf Coast.
The Belle Chasse forum focused on how to ensure a safe and prosperous future for Plaquemines Parish because rapid land loss has dramatically increased the risks of damage from storm surge. After presentations from scientists, members of the non-governmental organization (NGO) community, and local and state government officials, the attendees focused on answering the following key questions:
- How do we protect what we value based on how vulnerable we are and the threats we face?
- How do we prioritize solutions with what we value?
- Where do we start?
Answering the questions resulted in lively and at times difficult discussions, but forum attendees shared a widespread consensus that the future of Plaquemines Parish depends on swift action to utilize the sediment of the Mississippi River to rebuild marsh and land.
Forum participants also agreed that solutions will involve all levels of government, and that community knowledge and needs must be at the heart of the solutions. AEC will circulate the findings from the forum throughout the parish for feedback from the community before producing final findings.
America's Energy Coast has additional forums planned throughout the Gulf Coast. Its final forum is planned for New Orleans in March 2012. More information can be found at http://www.futureofthegulfcoast.org/.