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Friday, October 17, 2008

Sustainability_ The Ultimate Quest-Part III_Indictment _ORT Forum on public policy

Professor Ivor van Heerden, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Deputy Director, LSU's Hurricane Center, presented a provocative analysis of Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans, at the August 12, to 17, 2007, Oxford Round Table (ORT) held at St. Anne's College in the University of Oxford. The title of his paper was"Global Warming and Sustainable Development: Governing a Crisis.

Professor van Heerden's insights regarding failure of the levees in New Orleans have also been aired lately on NOVA, PBS. Professor van Heerden's paper, The Failure Of The New Orleans Levee System During Hurricane Katrina And Public Policy Needs For The Future was published in the Oxford Round Table Forum on Public Policy, Volume 3, Number 4, 2007, a publication of the Oxford Round Table. Professor van Heerden's new book The Storm has been cited as "gripping" and "compelling" by Publishers Weekly and CNN's Anderson Cooper.

ABSTRACT-excerpt: "
Oxford Round TableHurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana as a moderately fast-moving Category 3 storm. Thereafter 85 percent of Greater New Orleans was flooded, 1600 lives were lost and approximately 500,000 homeless. The hurricane protection system failed catastrophically with over half the levee system damaged or breached reflecting that the best science was not utilized in surge elevation determinations; a major misinterpretation as relates to the usage of surveyors datum's; levee designs did not account for poor soil foundations and/or underseepage; and, miles of levees lacked armoring to protect from waves. Surge elevations were exacerbated by the loss of coastal wetlands which since 1930 exceeds 500,000 ha.
As global warming accelerates, 'smart' planning is needed for many major ports and other coastal communities. Tropical cyclone surge management making full use of natural as well as man-made components needs to be augmented with sustainable development and some retreat from low-lying coastal regions. Retreat from the Louisiana coastal zone is a reality but coastal restoration in the key to the future habitation thereof, along with sustainable surge protection systems. This latter system must be complimented and protected by aggressive coastal wetland and barrier island restoration."

Professor van Heerden provided strong back-up to support his case:
Reviews and summary of The Storm
PBS article about hurricane Katrina and ivh about January 2005
Sciencenow Video
Segment of video from NOVA
Youtube video about hurricane Katrina and Ivor

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