News

LA 1 Project Featured in NOAA Article and Video Highlighting Resiliency and Vulnerability of Coastal Lafourche Parish

By:  LA 1 Coalition

December 5, 2012

 

(Leeville, LA)   LA Highway 1 is featured in a recently released article and video series produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program Office, focusing on the resiliency of South Lafourche, Port Fouchon and the highway infrastructure in this region’s battle against rising tides and a sinking landscape.

In the comprehensive ClimateWatch magazine article titled, Thriving on a Sinking Landscape,” author Caitlyn Kennedy explores the national economic significance of Port Fourchon and LA 1, the challenge to measure subsidence rates in this coastal region, and the resiliency of the port and the new elevated section of LA Highway 1 during 2012’s Hurricane Isaac. Kennedy also points to a 2011 federal study that concluded that projected sea level rise, tidal flooding, and storm events put the 7.1-mile at-grade section of this critical energy corridor from Leeville to Golden Meadow at constant risk from extended closure, significantly impacting the American economy.

“By 2066, at least five percent of the road could be submerged year round,” writes Kennedy. “Most worrisome, though, was the finding that the highway could experience a total washout even before 2030 in the event of a major hurricane.”

This data was compiled in a 2011 study by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s NISAC Laboratory and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette’s NIMSAT Institute, which determined that a 90-day closure of LA 1, and subsequently Port Fourchon, could result in up to a $7.8 billion loss in American GDP due to cascading impacts on the oil and gas industry across the United States.

“NOAA has been a tremendous asset to the LA 1 Coalition in helping us measure subsidence rates along the LA 1 Corridor and project the impacts of sea level rise,” says LA 1 Coalition Executive Director Henri Boulet. “We are pleased that they have included our highway in this article and video series to explain to the nation our urgent need to complete Phase 2 of the LA 1 Improvement Project, an urgent need with $7.8 billion in national economic impacts at stake.”

In Ground Zero for Sea Level Rise, a three-minute video filmed in South Lafourche in August as part of NOAA’s ClimateWatch video series on this area’s resiliency, Boulet explains, “Time and tide are not on our side. Inundation will be a continued problem. Subsidence is not slowing down. We’re going to face fiercer storms, and we have a road that is more vulnerable by the day that this entire nation counts on. There’s a sense of urgency here.”

“Thriving on a Sinking Landscape” can be read online at http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/article/2012/thriving-on-a-sinking-landscape/3

“Ground Zero for Sea Level Rise” can be viewed at http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/video/2012/ground-zero-for-sea-level-rise

Other NOAA ClimateWatch videos feature Greater Lafourche Port Commission Executive Director Chett Chiasson and South Lafourche Levee District General Manager Windell Curole discussing the challenges of developing along the changing coastal landscape, and importance of adaption in sustaining vital economic infrastructure and unique cultural communities. These videos can be viewed at http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/Videos.

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