Since the MRGO Must Go Coalition’s beginning, in 2006, we’ve released recommendations and reports that have helped shape the restoration plans and processes for the MRGO ecosystem. Here are some of our highlights:
MRGO Must Go Coalition White Paper – 10/01/2020
Overview: 15 years after Hurricane Katrina, there is new information available on the ecosystem impact of the infamous Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) that can help inform restoration efforts. Through extensive research, we now more fully understand the influence of the MRGO: The channel impacted over a million acres of coastal habitat. Remarkably, data shows that the relatively simple navigational closure of the channel is possibly the most beneficial restoration project to date in Louisiana, helping return salinity throughout the Pontchartrain Basin to pre-MRGO ranges.
Open Letter to the Governor – 4/29/2020
Overview: The MRGO Must Go Coalition has been working since 2006 to restore the ecosystem impacted by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) shipping channel. We are writing to express opposition to the proposed opening of the MRGO closure structure, a rock dam at Bayou la Loutre. Science-based decision-making is paramount; a clear understanding of the effects of altering the structure is imperative. The rock dam structure has had significant and measurable benefits for coastal recovery after the closing of the MRGO. Our member organizations and supporters would strongly oppose seeing these benefits lost without well-founded decisions that contribute to the goal of coastal recovery and restoration.
MRGO Must Go Coalition K10 Report – 8/10/2015
Overview: As we approach the 10th anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it is important to reflect on the
progress that has been made and acknowledge the work that has yet to be done. This report will examine
the various components of the Multiple Lines of Defense Strategy, evaluate their advancements,
identify their shortcomings and offer recommendations for ensuring the full protection and long-term
resiliency of the Greater New Orleans communities.
2013 MRGO Restoration Handout
Overview: The restoration of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) ecosystem for sustainable communities in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes restoration would not be possible without the passion and dedication of local governments, scientists, and community advocates over the last several decades. Public involvement remains critical.
MRGO Public Comments on Feasibility Report
Overview: (September 5, 2012—New Orleans) A coalition of community leaders, policy experts and coastal scientists released joint comments today on the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Report. The report, which is being released four years beyond Congressional deadline, contains the Army Corps’ plan to restore a portion of more than 600,000 acres of coastal wetlands and waterways impacted by the MRGO shipping channel. The MRGO has been directly linked to intensifying the destruction of Hurricane Katrina by destroying the wetlands that once buffered the greater New Orleans area from storm surge. The public comment period, ending September 6, is the last chance to comment on the Army Corps plan.
Coalition Comments on Corps MRGO Report
Overview: The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) Feasibility Report describes the impact of the federal navigation channel to over 600,000 acres (940 square miles) of coastal habitats and recommends 58,000 acres of restored wetland habitat. The urgency of restoration in the MRGO ecosystem is undisputed. Despite a 180-day timeline for this restoration plan, the citizens of Greater New Orleans have waited over four years. Meanwhile, the ecosystem continues to deteriorate and communities continue their struggle to recover from decimating storm surge caused in part by the MRGO.
5th Circuit Court Ruling on MRGO
Overview: (March 7, 2012-New Orleans) On Friday, the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the November 2009 landmark decision that found the Army Corps liable for catastrophic flooding in the Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish during Hurricane Katrina due to the grossly negligent management of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO). In 2009, Judge Stanwood Duval ruled that the dangerous condition of the shipping channel was clearly acknowledged by the Corps for decades, but the Corps chose not to take a course of action to remedy the ongoing destruction and degradation of the protective wetlands. The MRGO impacted over 700,000 acres of coastal wetlands and waterways. These wetlands once buffered the Greater New Orleans area from storm surge.
Final Recommendations for Restoring the MRGO Ecosystem
Overview: Restoring the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) area ecosystem that was severely degraded by the now de-authorized and blocked-off MRGO ship channel is of great importance to local communities and environmental organizations working on coastal Louisiana restoration. While we support many elements of the Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) as described in the Draft Feasibility Report (DFR), we believe that the plan needs significant modification. We are concerned that elements of the proposed plan or deficiencies are not “cost-effective, environmentally acceptable or technically feasible” as mandated in Implementation Guidance for Section 7013 of WRDA. In order to meet those criteria and to ensure the best restoration plan, we urge the Corps to reformulate the TSP along the lines suggested in this document. The technical details of our concerns and recommendations are discussed below. Planning must continue to be robust, transparent and with public and scientific engagement. We are willing to help in any way we can to incorporate our recommendations and avoid any further delays in moving forward with MRGO ecosystem restoration.
Mister Go Isn’t Gone Yet: Creating Community and Environmental Resiliency in the Wake of a Man-Made Catastrophe
Overview: The MRGO Must GO Coalition (Coalition) has gathered the expertise of scientists, local
governments, and the community to develop recommendations for the Corps’ restoration
plan. The Coalition recommends eight priority projects for the MRGO Ecosystem
Restoration Feasibility Study currently being crafted by the Army Corps of Engineers that will:
• Mitigate many historical impacts of the MRGO channel;
• Increase protection from hurricane winds, waves, or storm surge;
• Improve fish and wildlife habitat;
• Increase the resiliency of coastal wetlands to erosion, subsidence, and sea level rise;
• Create jobs for engineers, construction crews, project managers, administrative
assistants, and others.
The Coalition recommends the following: