Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser testified Tuesday before the Mississippi Legislature about the possible effects of a coastal reclamation project in Louisiana that could have deleterious effects on the water quality of the Mississippi Sound.
He and several other experts, including Moby Solangi from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, told a joint hearing of the Waterways and Ports committees that the Mid-Breton Diversion Project would have serious consequences for the environment and fisheries industries in the Mississippi Sound.
The project is one of several that would divert flow from the Mississippi River and divert into marshes in the hopes that the river will deposit silt and allow the marshes to heal after years of erosion, saltwater intrusion and other factors that lead to a football field-sized chunk of southeastern Louisiana being lost every 100 minutes.
The diversion would be a gated structure near Bertandville that would cost $800 million and is one of the cornerstone projects of the state's plan to restore its disappearing coast.
Critics say that the project, which will dump 7.5 percent of the river's water into the Breton Sound and ultimately the Mississippi Sound, will harm oysters, dolphins and other marine life because of the reduction in salinity and pollution from the Mississippi River, which drains the largest watershed in the United States.