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« WaterWired's Off to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic | Main | Jim Thebaut Guest Post: START, Nuclear Weapons, and Water »

Sunday, 29 August 2010


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POSTING ... New Orleans Flooding: 'The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is for Good People to Do Nothing' ...

As I read this posting I found myself (a) in agreement while at the same time (b) being discombobulated...?

Do “we” so-called good people do nothing as a function of intention or might this be reflective of how successful the last 40 year campaign to infuse FEAR into our society has been...?

A manipulated divide, partition, segregate, separate, isolate, detach society has emerged in America over the last 40 years driven, quite successfully by the emergence of still larger corporate giant$, now virtually controlling every phase of our once vaunted “check & balance” form of representative democracy.

Today’s education punctuates this notion of divide and conquer for which American free-enterprise has supremely mastered.

The tragedy which unfolded some five years ago in New Orleans was not, in my evaluation, the result of good people doing nothing ... it was that good people did precisely what they had been educated to do ... FEAR ... and as a nation we continue to succumb to it

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Wolfe

Thanks for making this "letter" available. It's a shame that doing the right thing is so often met with resistence.


I read Seed's letter via Aguanomics, and subsequent followups with rebuttals from various parties, with great interest as I am personally acquainted with one of the people he castigates most severely. A colleague who knows most of the major players quite well says there are personality issues involved and the technical issues are not so clear-cut as Dr. Seed implies. Nevertheless it does not appear the engineering profession in general or ASCE in particular have distinguished themselves in this matter. The demand for "consensus" as a prequisiste for publication seems disingenuous at best, given there were four separate teams working simultaneously; and why did the allegation of possible malfeasance cause so much consternation? This was Lousiana, after all...

Bottom line: It's hard to believe an engineering failure of this magnitude could be nobody's fault, and even harder to understand why an ostensibly disinterested third-party agency should be so obsessed with message control.


Possible way of flooding New Orleans and south Louisiana again.

Wetlands restoration will produce an unstable or stable Mississippi River?

A Yes or No needs to be the answer but I have not received an answer and the question was posed a few years ago to my elected officials.

...The present Master Plan for wetlands restoration only covers one side of the fence. The plan discusses 20% to 30% of the river being diverted along the Mississippi River between Donaldsonville and the mouth of the river and, I believe, this will make the river unstable. The other side of the fence is diverting with keeping the river stable and I want to share some ideas of how, I believe, to keep the river stable.

General explanations about both sides of the fence:

LA Speaks Draft Master Plan will not work because a river environmental disaster will occur with the plan as proposed
Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast

I worked at a chemical plant next door to the plant where the following incident happened. A shipping terminal fell in the river in the 1973 flood near Plaquemine, La. and I believe from high velocity water but I am sure the terminal was designed to meet government regulations with respect to piling depth...etc. After this event several diversions were added to the river and this has added piling undercutting capability to the river due to added velocity. Adding more diversions in the future may be the straw that breaks the back and, I believe, more shipping terminals will fall into the river. There should not be any added diversions that increases river velocities except for diversions close to the mouth of the river. Diversions close to the mouth of the river essentially do not increase river velocities and do not decrease the resistance of the river. But any diversions above the mouth of the river decrease the resistance of the river by creating a parallel run with the river. This parallel run starts at the point of the river diversion and continues downstream to the Gulf. These added diversions will decrease the downstream resistance and river velocity north of the diversion will be higher than before the diversions are added.

"A combination for shipping terminals to fall into the river"

I believe there is nothing that can be done to stop the added erosion power of the river from undermining shipping pilings. Also I believe, grading, armoring the river bank with stone, and installing concrete matt on the river bank will not stop the erosive power of the river, from higher velocities, undermining the levee at peak meander points. And this undermining of the levee will send a destructive tidal wave into Southeast Louisiana.

The Mississippi River Master Plan diversions will only work if:

All future diversions are close to the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Or the total flow of the bird foot delta area is decreased by the added upstream diversion flows.
A magnitude example of possible diversions

Third Delta Conveyance Channel General Pathway

The Third Delta Conveyance Channel diverts about 1/3 of the Mississippi river and will be located below Donaldsonville La. and may well destroy Southeast Louisiana because the levee above Donaldsonville, Louisiana will be undermined. Higher river velocities above Donaldsonville will be generated by the Conveyance Channel flow because the flow will decrease the river resistance below Donaldsonville. These higher velocities will undermine peak meander points of the river above Donaldsonville and in turn the levee will be undermined and collapse sending a tidal wave south.

Please see below article that shows stream channelization increase flow velocity.

I believe one can safely conclude:
• Stream channelization reduces the resistance of a stream and this is why the stream has faster velocities.
• For the Mississippi River, approximate 1/3 of the river diverted by the Third Delta Conveyance channel will reduce the resistance of the river and as a result the velocity and the erosive power of the river upstream of the diversion will increase.


…Because overall stream behavior is maintained in dynamic equilibrium, changes in one of several variables such as flow, velocity, or streambed substrate will result in compensating changes in the other variables. Channelization and armoring (rip-rapping) of a stream section will cause permanent changes, removing the dynamic nature of not only the altered section, but also affecting the adjoining stream sections further downstream than might initially be anticipated. Stream channelization often increases stream velocity, thereby increasing the erosive power of the stream. Durable protection or armoring is then required to ensure the stability of the engineered modification through all flow events….

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