Fisherman, Scientists Continue to Clash on Miss. River Diversions

Jun 18, 2013
Originally published on January 26, 2014 10:45 am

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.

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