Planned Barataria Bay diversion concerns scientist

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion that’s one of the hallmarks of the state’s Coastal Master Plan could have devastating impacts to fisheries and the way of life in Louisiana’s coastal towns, according to Roy Crabtree, regional administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service.

In a written response to a Solicitation of Views request sent by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Crabtree said the project, commonly called the Myrtle Grove Diversion, will dramatically alter the life cycles of sea life in the area.

“Freshening substantial portions of the basin and localized lowering of water temperature for five months of the year from the MBSD would affect a broad range of fishery species during a variety of life stages and their prey,” Crabtree wrote. “Displacement and decreases in shrimp production should be expected to have impacts on valuable species that prey upon shrimp, such as seatrout, red drum and red snapper, as well as to have socio-economic repercussions on commercial fishing and related industries.”

Crabtree addressed his letter to Elizabeth Davoli of the CPRA.

He said that although NMFS supports the ultimate goal of coastal restoration in Louisiana, he has serious concerns about the ability of sediment diversions to reach that end.

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