Also in Plaquemines, Parish President Billy Nungesser met with BP and federal and state representatives to plan further coastal protection. He called for the immediate activation of the U.S. dredging fleet to dredge along the barrier island chains to create sand berms from Grand Isle to the Chandeleur Islands. Nungesser says the boom system in place is ineffective and by dredging, sand would be pumped and placed along the eroded patches of beach by the barrier islands.
The Chandeleur Islands, part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge and the second-oldest refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System, once were a single island more than 50 miles long but eroded into a group of islands after storms and other disasters.
Supporters of the plan believe the pumped-in sand would build back what was lost — not only protecting the area from intruding oil from the BP disaster but from future storms, as it once did. If a tropical storm or hurricane came into the Gulf, oil could be pushed further inland. Nungesser is planning for the worst-case scenario and says he has the support of Gov. Bobby Jindal and other state officials.
There are concerns about the stability of the sediment used to build up the barrier islands, but Plaquemines officials say the dredge plan is consistent with state and parish sustainability plans. — Alex Woodward