St. Mary Parish, La. - Dr. Robert Twilley, an LSU coastal scientist, grabs a handful of river sediment, the building blocks for one of the newest places on earth.
"When you feel it, you can feel the silt and you can feel the particles that are in this landscape that help build this land," Twilley said.
Like many supporters of Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan, Twilley points to an accidental paradise southwest of Morgan City as an example of the power of the river.
In 1941, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, aiming to prevent flooding along the Atchafalaya River in Morgan City, cut a new channel to the Gulf of Mexico.
At the mouth of the Wax Lake Outlet, a 30,000-acre delta has formed.
Today, fresh water pond weeds grow where the land sticks its toe into the Gulf of Mexico.
A couple miles to the north, 30-foot willow trees tower over islands that appeared in the 1980's.
"This willow is sort of like the weed tree of coastal Louisiana," Twilley said, noting these new forests are important hurricane protection for Morgan City. "Wherever you find high ground and no salt, this is the tree that you'll find."
However, Louisiana's ambitious plans to rebuild coastline have sparked an increasingly intense fight over river diversions.
"Those who oppose diversions ridiculously assert that the river water is poison," said Chuck Perrodin, spokesman for the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. "This proves them wrong."
In fact, nothing about the state's coastal restoration plan creates more controversy than the idea of cutting holes in levees, diverting fresh water into the marsh and into fisheries."
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National Fisherman Live: 10/21/14
In this episode:
North Pacific Council adjusts observer program
Fishermen: bluefin fishing best in 10 years
Catch limit raised for Bristol Bay red king crab
Canadian fishermen fight over lobster size rules
River conference addresses Dead Zone cleanup
National Fisherman Live: 10/7/14
In this episode, National Fisherman Publisher Jerry Fraser talks about the 1929 dragger Vandal.
NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association will host its 4th Annual Marin County Dinner at Marin Catholic High School, 675 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Kentfield on Friday, Oct 10, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.