Death Knell for the Mississippi River Delta
This infographic highlights the major reasons for the collapse of the barrier islands and coastal lands in the Louisiana Delta. All the land and natural resource losses are a direct result of unchecked and largely unregulated industrial development-infrastructure necessary to connect operations from offshore oil and gas rigs to refineries and beyond. There are thousands of miles of roads, numerous dams upstream, countless aging pipelines, and the levees to protect, expand, and maintain the extreme energy extraction economy of “America’s Energy Coast.”
Adding insult to injury, the channels and canals cut into the delicate wetlands to control water levels and allow access to pipelines and drilling rigs have forever altered the natural hydrology of the delta region. These unnatural waterways have allowed saltwater to penetrate deep into the bayous, disrupting the salinity balance, killed vegetation in the freshwater wetlands, and continues to threaten the viability of shellfish beds and fish breeding areas.
The Indigenous Peoples of these lands understood the tenets of Natural Law when it came to the regenerative processes of the river that fed the biodiversity and abundant resources of the bayou. The steady decline of the environment can be directly attributed to the wealth of knowledge that was and still is being ignored and disregarded as useless and a dangerous deterrent to the whims and wishes of a greed-driven economic system.
Today, the food and medicine plants, seafood and raw materials for everyday needs are rapidly disappearing – many have been lost forever and the ones that remain are under constant threat of extinction.
Climate change has also impacted this region, more so than in other areas, because the once protective bayou has all but disappeared. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita wrecked communities as storm surge and flooding pounded the coast all across the Gulf region.
The man-made catastrophe of the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion and failure to stop the flow of millions of barrels of crude oil that washed up on Louisiana shorelines was a crushing blow to an already degraded region.
All of this and more adds to the ever increasing urgency for large-scale and long-term restoration for the Louisiana / Mississippi River Delta and an immediate moratorium on extreme energy extraction in the Gulf of Mexico.