After a yearlong planning process, state officials are working on a report that will recommend ways for six coastal parishes to deal with rising water and sinking land. The report could shape coastal communities for decades to come. Some of the ideas are controversial, such as limits on residential construction and higher taxes in areas of extreme flooding.
The Port of New Orleans wants the city to change the official land use for two properties along the Intracoastal Canal so it can develop them. Environmental groups say the wetlands help prevent flooding and act as backup protection against storm surge. The port says they are practically worthless because they lie behind levees and a storm surge barrier.
The swamp is suffering from a lack of freshwater from natural flooding and from the penetration of saltwater through canals dug for logging. If nothing is done, scientists say the forest will become open water over time. The first phase of the project will be funded with $14 million in BP oil spill fines.