Post-Hurricane Katrina, the hurricane that devastated New Orleans in August 2005, a massive concrete and steel wall was built to prevent future devastation to the area. When that wall was built, there was no doubt it would have a tremendous impact on the local environment, and thus the fishing. What wasn’t known at the time was whether or not the fish would successfully adapt to the environmental change. Fortunately, they have. There is work to be done to ensure the long term viability (or should I say fishability) of the area, but the outlook is good.
Learn more about how it’s all going in this story from the Watery Rave.
Safe to say, most New Orleans-area fishermen wish the hottest wintertime speckled trout spot in their region didn’t exist. That’s because the sure-fire spot to catch cold-water specks over the last four years is a gargantuan concrete wall built with the hope that the unprecedented disaster of Hurricane Katrina is never repeated.
Constructed at the convergence of two shipping canals, the now-decommissioned Mississippi River Gulf Outlet and Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier is nearly two miles long, 25 feet tall above the water line and has enough steel in it to build eight Eiffel Towers. Between and around the steel is white concrete that can be seen from as far as five miles away by boat. It is the largest civil works project ever built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and cost more than $1 billion. Fishermen and locals call it simply “the wall.”
The MRGO and the Corps, which was responsible for digging and dredging the ill-fated shipping channel since the early 1960s, are roundly blamed for the flooding that consumed New Orleans East, the Lower 9th Ward and adjacent communities in St. Bernard Parish during Katrina. The lightly traveled, 45-foot deep channel that stretches from the heart of the city more than 70 miles to Breton Sound funneled Katrina’s 20-plus foot storm surges straight into New Orleans.
Photos: Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership