MOSAIC NOLA:The Gentilly Project

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ounce of Prevention, Pound of Cure

The wait is over. FEMA has issued new floodplain maps for New Orleans. The new guidelines require that many heavily damaged houses be raised at least three feet above ground.

As I watch these decisions get reported, I am struck by the "pound of cure" quality to them. New guidelines needed to be set to resolve the uncertainty of rebuilding. The new floodplain maps are very good from a personal and commercial investment perspective. However, I think the public conversations fall short of how we might protect both life and property.

Without a systematic program to rebuild marshes and wetlands in southern Louisiana, the country will invest significantly more in pumbs and levees for New Orleans. According to every specialist I've ever heard on the subject, emphasizing levees as the solution will *not* protect New Orleans. Pumps and levees are the most expensive solutions of last resort, behind the "ounce of prevention" created by expanded marshes and wetlands.

I'm glad that the new floodplain maps are out, but I am astounded that public decisions (and news reporting) perpetuate the most expensive solutions that put the burden on local indivduals and businesses.


Post a Comment

<< Home