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Fisherman, Scientists Continue to Clash on Miss. River Diversions

Caernarvon Pass is 15 miles downriver from New Orleans. Built in the early 1990s to grow oyster beds, many argue it isn't a good example for what the state's planned diversions will do.
Army Corps of Engineers
Caernarvon Pass is 15 miles downriver from New Orleans. Built in the early 1990s to grow oyster beds, many argue it isn't a good example for what the state's planned diversions will do.
Caernarvon Pass is 15 miles downriver from New Orleans. Built in the early 1990s to grow oyster beds, many argue it isn't a good example for what the state's planned diversions will do.
Credit Army Corps of Engineers
Caernarvon Pass is 15 miles downriver from New Orleans. Built in the early 1990s to grow oyster beds, many argue it isn't a good example for what the state's planned diversions will do.

State plans to restore the coastline are trying to mimic the way the Mississippi built the coast. Thousands of years ago the river dumped sediment from the plains upriver into the marsh. But some fishermen are worried the plans will displace the saltwater fish they catch to make a living.

Fishermen voiced their opposition at a community meeting in St. Bernard Monday.

According to The Times-Picayune,one fisherman compared the fishery-displacement to the nineteenth-century federally-enforced relocation of American Indians. In their public testimony, fisherman cited two existing diversions, at Caernarvon Pass and Davis Pond, which displaced oyster beds.

Local scientists tried to assure fisherman that those diversions are different than the planned ones. The new diversions will move more sediment than water.

But man-made diversions may not work like the natural ones. Other research shows that sediment diversions might destroy land, rather than rebuild it as intended, because it may overfeed marshes with more nutrients than the ecosystem can healthily survive in.

Copyright 2021 WRKF. To see more, visit WRKF.

Kelly grew up in Baton Rouge. She started out in radio at Baton Rouge High where she was first on air at WBRH and KBRH. While studying film and politics at Hendrix College, she reported and hosted for KUAR in Little Rock, AR. She then moved on to KUT in Austin, TX. She misses the dry air, live music at Studio 1A and breakfast tacos, but is happy for crawfish and non-ironic use of Mardi Gras beads.

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