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Wetlands restoration not a panacea for Louisiana coast
Date:9/26/2008

impact of wetlands on storm surge, you need to have good storm surge data to understand what happened in the past. But we simply don't have that data," Young said. "It's one of the gaping holes that we have in understanding what's going on at the coast."

The problem is that storm surge is hard to measure. "You can't just go out there and stand with a stick and measure a 30-foot storm surge." There's also a tremendous amount of variability in storm surge height along the shore, variability that isn't reflected in current storm impact models.

Scientists can measure storm meteorology wind speeds and directions, rainfall and such but until they can measure the ground effects of storm surge, including how far inland the waves are penetrating, "we'll never be able to say much of anything about storm impact, and we certainly won't be able to calibrate, verify and check the veracity of the models being used."

As a result, the models are flying blind, Young said. Add to this the fact that land loss is happening at such a rate in the Gulf, due to subsidence of the Delta and exacerbated by rising sea levels, that Young fears that the billion-dollar restoration programs planned for the region will do little to maintain the status quo, let alone repair previous damage.

"I'm afraid that over the long term this is a losing battle," Young said. "If the government of the State of Louisiana wants to do its citizens the best service, it needs to begin to understand how it will relocate some of these communities."

**WHEN & WHERE**

Tuesday, 7 October, 3:45 PM
George R. Brown Convention Center: Ballroom C

View abstract, paper 6-6: "Restoring Coastal Louisiana Will Not Guarantee the Protection of Infrastructure from Storms: Policy Makers Should Also Plan for Strategic Relocation of Critical Infrastructure and Vulnerable Communities" at http:
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Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
303-357-1093
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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