The ravages of Hurricane Rita coming so quickly after the horrors of Katrina proved to be an eye-opening moment for the nation and for people in positions of authority.
Finally, the world saw the consequences of the coastal degradation we have been talking about for more than eight decades, and finally there was a resolve at the national level to help save Louisiana’s coast.
Every hurricane we experience knocks down our protective ecosystem buffer and makes the next storm potentially more devastating, no matter what category it might be. So, in addition to building levees and flood walls, restoring our natural ecosystem buffer is of prime importance.
In addition, the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has been heavily involved in projects that spent billions of dollars on land and marsh creation, shoreline protection and barrier island restoration.
The question we must ask ourselves is this: 10 years after Katrina and Rita, and after years and billions of dollars in protection and restoration projects along our coast, are we actually less vulnerable? Are our protection and restoration efforts making a difference?
The answer is yes, we are better protected than just a few years ago, but there is still a long way to go.