Jan 17, 2014|
Army Corps Brig. Gen. Duke DeLuca has data he claims refutes the claims of the Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority with regard to freshwater diversions under the Coastal Master Plan. He gave an overview of a recent presentation he made as part of the Expert Scientific Panel of the Water institute in Baton Rouge on Jan 8.
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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
Good afternoon from the big 878 WWL I'm Donna do you filling in for Garland Robinette on Friday's dollar will be back with you on Monday those who view a regular listens to the think tank -- the -- enormous self you know we've been. Are covering the restoration of Louisiana's coast the coastal protection and restoration authority. Has now got a coastal Massa master plan. -- major portion of that is freshwater diversions from the Mississippi River which has become the most controversial aspect of everyone wants to restore the coast how we go about doing it. There are differing opinions. Some say that these massive freshwater diversion will ruin our natural resources. They would prefer to see you more for dredging aspect. Others say there's the river is the key to it. There has been in order to address this an expert scientific panel of the water institute. A selection of our people some experts who can give some data and information in their opinion on. On the future of using these freshwater diversions one of them is brigadeer general duke Deluca. He's a commander of the Mississippi Valley division of the a US Army Corps of Engineers he -- presentation last week I found very interesting. Some revelations side dispelling some proceed to myths about freshwater diversion. Those are you more regular listeners of this think tank whether it's Garland on me on down to -- come filling in for him today is on all Fridays. I you know one of the things we've kept a close eye on his in this issue of freshwater diversion that we have interviewed folks from both sides of the story. People who believe that the Mississippi River is the answer of the main. Problem facility that we were used to restore coastal Louisiana's land loss. Other people say the amount of the diversion more the war and its coming through doesn't contain enough sediment. And what it does is going to compromise our. Salt water resources are fin fish -- oysters and I shellfish. -- that discussion has been going on one thing everyone agrees on we need to do something we need to do it quickly. How we accomplish that is what's -- debate. And helping us decide on that we have brought in several special -- we've got one today brigadier general duke Deluca. Who is with the US Army Corps of Engineers is the commander of the Mississippi. Valley and also of the president of the Mississippi River Commission. He testified last week to an expert panel on diversion planning and implementation is is twelve experts from around the country who. Are familiar with Louisiana's Louisiana's coastal issues they are meeting in one of the reasons this was set up this panel was because. There has been so much questions coming up about. Sediment diversions aware they're going to be built what their impacts going to be and will they work the bottom brigadier general Deluca was one of those testifying and he's here today. To kind of tell us what his findings are general Deluca thank you for joining us we're appreciated. Thank you and -- -- appreciated. I keep getting into some of these assertions and in testimony that you gave to this group one of the things that that she said. Was that a lot of the land loss that we're experiencing in is out of range of any settlement that the Mississippi River might provide. Well yes that is true. From a we've been able to determine we needed. A little bit over half of the land loss that has been. More specifically identified since 1932. And life outside of Mississippi River influence even -- -- diversions. In the central and western part of the states so. The problem of land loss is certainly. Is larger than just. They issues that they would -- River itself. A little bit over hat and make -- outside and disappeared or influence. And the united dirty -- referenced by the way everybody sort of goes back in 1930. The only reason is. Our ability to really truly grasp the significance of the problem in the rate of change over the years. Really came into being with aerial photography we could actually compare and eagles' system. And not rely merely on anecdotal evidence from local residents or observers. And it was really -- system of. A moderator gauging or in place you know at that time and so bad that those of the the dates as far back as we go to pretty reliable data underestimating him. As far as what amount of sentiment is coming from the river this CPR -- -- has set some figures that they think they will be able to get. Is it true and I think you gave this information and basically saying this is not your grandfather's river anymore it is not that amount of sentiment that is is pouring down and then did at the time when this delta was being built is that correct. It is corrected correct for a wide variety of reasons and we can talk about all those sort of follow up with that. Even where we -- detected. Sentiment even. The Baton Rouge. You know mile marker of the river we're noticing that over half of that sentiment. In practice a great majority of it is the law -- in the port comes out the the -- of the Mississippi River into. The Gulf of Mexico there was -- there was believed at one point in time that all the sentiment was coming down the watershed in the river. And then going out into the Gulf of Mexico and being lost really -- to continental shelf that that studies that we've been able to partner with this study done by the way -- the partnering. -- -- -- Have shown us that those sediment loads are much different and there are a lot of holes in the river is the very deep river obviously places particularly from Baton Rouge and the where it is deposited. So. It is definitely not your father's Mississippi and I could just expand for a second. A plausible concept I think it's in the popular mind. That sounds good but when you really look at Andy's into true or accurate and that is you know the river built -- -- And so we just. Reconnect the -- to. The marshlands and the wetlands. It will build a more or sustain them as they were her. Forever. And and that really is going to be true. For a couple reasons one is the Mississippi basin and those -- were created by a flow of water. It will not be replicated for millions of years we had -- continental shelf -- covered majority of North America. Down into the middle of the midwest you know the middle -- area today. And that -- did you know 120000 to about you know fourteen to 121000. Years ago. And that produced the volume of water and what we -- stream that was back to moving -- -- the lower half of the continent. And delivering an enormous really he almost incalculable amount -- -- into the delta in that were created open. What will never achieve that level extreme power again. And we really don't want to because we like New Orleans we like. Our industry and agriculture and everything else that in and taking advantage of the illegal valley. 406 miles wide that was carved out and created really -- that runoff. So. We won't get extreme power we will go to levels sentiment they need to levels that we and the late eighteen hundreds. We don't have anymore for a variety of reasons. But most importantly is probably improvements in farm. We just can go Deep Purple oh we have -- back -- to reduce. Run off going into the watershed. Because runoff -- and so Leo solid going into the river and streams carried nutrients and other pollutants -- Has totally been viewed programs revolutionizing and culture in America and tremendous reducing. He got a sentiment the -- That have been put in place particularly misery but it's not just. That have been for flood control water supplier both. Can reduce the sentiment coming in for some of the tributaries publicity. And then there's the fact we have a -- system -- -- the disappeared tributaries. Program that constrain the reverend does not let it wander. Across that 400 to six -- six and a mile. -- real plane what plane. Means that it's not trading the continent -- have to -- and that is. In fact it has the mature at an area between -- its slide in there is erosion within that. But not nearly what we've seen it in previous historically years so the idea that -- -- the river will allow it to do what it did. Ten to 20000 years ago it is is not going to happen so I wanna see the -- that he -- for every action including diversions can help. Address below Atlantic coastal land loss problem he can judge -- state. We just want everyone to understand and have realistic expectations for what is happening and how -- investments will play out. What -- life cycle is you know when they can expect to -- affects all that sort of thing. They can get people to travel when you don't -- clarified those with the public. Understood I -- fact and getting text messages now on this and it always comes up in the CP IRA has is always pointed to wax lake and say look. -- -- we've got freshwater diversions but they've only been for nutrients to this point they're really on moving a lot of sediment. There's a lot of sentiment that comes down the river through wax lake it is a building -- down there. Is that accurate to say that isn't really that successful. Well. You know what actually is one area that we have seen that that has in fact. Built -- But. You have to look at what it's built console would in in this study that we undertake and we seeded. 250 square acres a year have been built and are being built -- no wax lake outlet. But that's -- 10% of the total. Flow of the river and old river control. We are losing over 101000 square acres a year in coastal land loss. -- -- That even if a 100% of the river were allowed to a fuel. Sentiment diversions. You know bad case you you know you would be you would be -- 500 square acres a year I'm not sure it would even -- that based on but. Physical environments of -- diversionary has chosen its. And in the loss to street -- every time you put it diversion in the river. You reduce the stream power and other places for diversions to do -- -- it would carry that heavy. Stand. Sentiment that deal delay and now there's an important part of the way actually discussion I don't think. Has been well understood and was mentioned in that round table that you talked about. An analyst it is. You can land building you know and you're like me focus on the heavy and of course and it's. And they are trying to find. And what what it also happens in the capitalized based in there to believe that did that. -- like outlet and in the -- leading up to release up to it as helped much of the Marshall and. Be sustainable. In the chapel -- -- And that is an argument that I think has great ability. And so you know part of this problem is not just building plan to replace that which has been lost her to counter losses it's also. Sustaining the marshlands. And have -- do exist now has this weekend. So period there is an argument that you know he had performed very good function in the chapel. It will -- in the land -- struggle by itself however or -- of -- -- the -- -- in the -- themselves. And in our only concern is that a lot of the public discussion about diversions have have had is that realistic expectation for huge amounts of land building. If we do just that really opened up some inside -- and actually in Atlanta to connect. We're talking -- brigadier general duke Deluca commander of the Mississippi Valley US Army Corps of Engineers and a duke I know we only had before a few more minutes so what do I like unit Telesis. The actual role of US Army Corps of Engineers in is what one year old you there just to provide information as you did and give testimony. And then let them go ahead in in and go forward and ask congress to allocate the money. For you to do to work on an all or you actually in control of of the permitting of these diversions in the -- of the information you're giving saying you know chances are not real good. Would -- allow you to get these -- what is your role in making determinations on the future of these diversions. Poster. That's a great question in the short answer the question is our role as a little visible. And or a lot of bode -- well. So elaborate on that eaten in terms of. The -- has resource -- -- known as a master plan that is had a lot of different action in it. Not just diversions I mean I distinctly match -- has enormous a number of measures that are that they are trying to employ. To win this struggle we have coastal land loss and figure out what is possible and how they can protect. That we need to protect and can restore that which that they can restore so. Ms. -- did public discussion is almost takes the police seemed to me is that. Newcomer of the region at least in my time in the lower -- it's been almost totally about diversions. But. We -- when the state wants to proceed on their own you know we've done a lot of joint. Not science resource together we are continuing that relationship which is great and we will continue that. Forever I -- And then. The state has come into some money but don't expect to come into some more money to have resources available. To address this in a way to mediate did at the state level in the past and they clearly are gonna move forward on projects of their own for those projects that state pursues. Without being a joint venture partner if you will with the federal government through the corps of engineers. They will need to receive permits. That section -- for the clean air Clean Water Act rather requires you to gonna put the material into. What -- any wars in the United States you can get a permit from the court title ten permit there's the rivers and harbors act. And it related to that any -- because our response billion of that law it to protect the federal channels. That really. That comes into play with a certain part of preventing. In in the real partly comes into play for that aspect of this is typical of the session for only permits it was really two main types permit. Associated with the state executing a diversion program the section for a late. Is required if you going to modify. And existing. Core of engineers. Feature of any kind whether tiger power flood risk reductions. Water supply you name it. If you gonna modify that whoever you are private industry -- state. You have to give this permit to prove that you'll. Not. Degrade the fundamental purpose that congress authorized. And appropriated money for this feature so it was designed to. Provide -- protection. You can defeat the purposes of the flood protection. Indian and getting you know in modifying it. And then the second day in parties. It cannot be injurious to the public interest in the language of congress. It's so. It's trickier part. The authority to grant this section you know for fourth title and permit. -- to do the work is. Going to be district engineer Carl Hansen. First such informally permit because these things -- -- very seriously by congress. They've only delegated that authority to the chiefs and engineers and so that will have to go to the chiefs and -- reports. Approval now. Given that the state has cooperated with the core on a number of properties peninsula called Louisiana coastal authorities program. There's a good chance that taking they have already have a background we were working together on some diversions. Some which are also proposed by the state they propose a much larger whole flow rate for those diversions when they are open. And so. I think given that the -- that we're working together and that the planning under LB LC program they can probably craft a package that will meet. Most of the requirements relatively rapidly more rapidly -- -- when it was coming to the process cold. Because he's been injured process for any kind of permit you you bring a planned. -- maybe some concerns about the plant be modified for that you know the for small project you know small modifications for larger product could be larger modifications. But in this case -- taken in knowing a tremendous amount about. You know the signs and even our own engineering understanding. Until he -- diversions and where they might be placed so. I think that it it will not necessarily be. A long drawn out process in the way -- would be for something that was a completely new concept dropped off the course door. Gee -- here this idea you know cannot permit it. It's a much more the news much more knowledge on both parts this state in the -- he's known to each other and networking relationship -- -- established. And I haven't -- -- done a great thing. Just recently. You know our funding for regulatory actions is somewhat constrained as -- we all -- under the budget control act. And so our ability to focus. On the most. I priorities in the coastal restoration program for the state. Is somewhat diminished we. In many permits for many actors in this society that we have to act on but there's a provision -- the law it's called section to fourteen with a state can. Provide funding that they and paid for regulatory staff in the corps of engineers who work solely on those projects that we received from the state. I general locally gonna have to get to the news here in an all Marty kept it longer than we intended thank you so much for being with the -- what we'll try to get tobacco when -- got a little bit more time. Okay thank you very. -- -- stated that they will provide. 214 funding which allowed to act much faster and apartment. Again thank you so -- brigadier general duke Deluca in a few minutes we got remaining if you'd like to weigh in on the last topic we talked about and that being freshwater diversions in their role in. The master plan to restore the coast of Louisiana. And got to tell you bottom line them brigadier general of the -- of the corps of engineers in his presentation to the expert panel on diversion planning and implementation. -- basically want to set things in perspective and and get a realistic look at that out like that. I'm not real happy about but some of the things he said I think there'd be surprising. To a lot of people that basically amounted to the amount of sentiment that the CP RA is hoping to get. Is really over inflated. Also talks about a lot of uncertainties and detriment of using that. I he also said that compares saying comparing it to wax lake the situation withdrawing the coast. Is really if you do the math on it. That is building an average of 250 acres of years a year. But it's been flowing their constantly for over seventy years and that amount of acreage being built is just. Pretty much a drop in the bucket on what we're losing which is. Over 101000 acres of year also said that this is not your grandfather's Mississippi River anymore it does not contain. It doesn't have the amount of settlement. That it once did when -- built this dale. So he didn't come right out and say it but I would think if passed he probably would say -- probably need to increased dredging. Or use some other aspects of restoration. In conjunction with diversions in order to accomplish those. Goals we'll take telephone calls do you text phone lines to 60187. If you in the 504 area outside of that you can call -- toll free. An 86689. Excuse me 0817. Also -- text message board is open and 87870. Got a couple of Tex coming in. A one don't wanting to know while wise he's terrified -- building I think general Deluca explain that. A while it is building the rate of building for the amount that's coming through there. Is a little bit over related overrated and it's also. Not enough to overcome the land loss that we have -- -- just basically opened up the river. Another one says what about damming up most of the oil field canals in the marsh that would stop a lot of the erosion right away. From retired army engineer absolutely oilfield canals throughout the march that will cut. Have been a source of accelerated erosion allowing the sentiments and that that the detritus in the marsh grass to lose its route system and fall out of there damning them -- easier said than done. A lot of rights of way a lot of private property lot of -- going on there. And feeling in would probably be a much more. Workable solution on effective solution then but certainly is stopping or slowing of the flow out would help in any cents. Let's go to George -- his collar -- with -- Louisiana coalition. He's been guests on this program and waited on this issue very often -- heard a general to Lucas comments. You -- your thoughts on what he says. Well -- good to go to collect a proper pressure and and and and not to Australia Michael -- What we call. Nobody could put much stock in what would be at an angry -- -- anger management. But the you know would evidently like electrical engineers -- not there. -- Commercial and recreational pension and trees on the onshore and he's a broader it was a great at bat and -- and I don't think we get. He was really I don't think in a position answered and I asked him about could this. A cause a denial of the permitting process based on what the findings on there any kind of threw it off to another. Source in the in the -- that would to have that responsibility. The -- get that feeling that based on what the -- reports on May be some of the other people testified that. Getting armies to do those massive diversions may become very problematic for CPR. I don't think it -- maybe problematic especially that we interpret our legislators there is we can't make sure all this evidence. Wherever I don't don't look as good as you know at Purdue now. And -- and collect these people are good you know that there aren't trying to curry -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- The problem I can't compare with an Albany in West Bank. And then didn't go to. What you're gonna occurred in the week. Devastate would have been devastating commercial -- great epic in an expert go in -- wanna pick it. Well this expert panel was created. In order to give the best -- -- and you know information to the water institute of the gulf. Do you think they'll act upon. Well good good good that players will -- are very credible at all and Richard it would be tried to get the art that that bang other big you know -- big picture -- what it does feel good measure. Alt alt a will reject their recommendations are many people. Under on the help. We're in the we're going to -- Edgar how am -- -- So what -- history. -- George thanks the comments appreciated. Let me go quickly -- give -- Louisiana shrimp association clinic got about a minute -- so. -- are. You get a lot of words. You you know what the statement the that the comets such you know the right to import routine -- planned. All of that order and security. People or. You don't woodland as always we wanna Julio and engineer -- the landscape -- -- -- well. Natural natural natural -- you to words in the remote but this is reality -- all living in Indonesia Lansky. And also -- things. The said the war you know. Is this something that we've been able so reward quality or twelve. Back to boil on all one element and won't alternately supportive and same concerns that. And almost all air. The very acres that big a tribute to these merchants to -- -- a I think you hear that from some qualified. Well it does sound like some some vindication. It sounds like some vindication for you got I'd coming up next it's open Mike with Angela hill she's got a couple of bartenders in here that ought to be an interesting afternoon. Good people have on a Friday then later on music legend Alan to -- from three to 4 PM. You don't wanna miss and I'll see you tomorrow morning darkened early at 5 AM for the outdoors.