Letter: Storm surge effort needs more choices

The proposed new levee submitted by the Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East will raise storm surge levels in Plaquemines Parish and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Storm surge will always build in Breton Sound because of the mechanics of hurricane systems. The real solution to prevent the surge from building is constructing large spillways across Plaquemines Parish. These spillways would allow surge from Breton Sound to be channeled through these spillways (relief valves) across the barrier formed by Plaquemines Parish’s levees. The spillways would also lower the surge in Plaquemines Parish.

The spillway option has been studied a couple of times, but the idea was never acted upon by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. One study was was entitled “Ring Levees/Spillways.”

I think it is time to consider all options. Higher levees and walls seem to have had negative effects during Hurricane Isaac, when Braithwaite, LaPlace and the North Shore experienced severe flooding.

The spillways could be designed to act as river diversions during periods of high river, aiding coastal restoration. They would also serve as large borrow pits.

It is time for new ideas to be studied. It’s the only way to beat the storm surge situation that we face every hurricane season.

Kenneth Ragas

retired FEMA trailer park manager

New Orleans