Scientists, engineers, academics and representatives from oil companies, government agencies and environmental groups will participate in the inaugural World Delta Dialogues 2010 conference, which hopes to put the issue of wetlands loss on the global stage. The conference, to be held Oct. 17-21, will use the Mississippi River delta system as a focus for discussion to help identify infrastructure problems in agencies responding to the crisis and the vulnerabilities facing wetlands loss, from sea level rise to sediment trapped in waterways.
Val Marmillion, managing director of conference host America's WETLAND Foundation, says the Mississippi River delta system, along with the Ganges River and Mekong River systems, are at a severe risk. The conference presents an opportunity to help solve wetlands issues not just in Louisiana but also around the globe. "Our region can be a leader," he says.
Groups will go offsite for helicopter tours of Louisiana wetlands and for on-the-ground inspection of erosion in Terrebonne and Plaquemines parishes. Some 350 delegates from the United States and 15 countries are expected to attend the wetlands tours.
Entergy also will announce the results of its $4 million McKenzie Foundation study, which evaluated the cost to states if a plan is not developed to preserve the delta system (part of the "energy coast," Marmillion says) which impacts more than 30 states and parts of Canada. The event is co-hosted by Shell, the Nature Conservancy, Chevron, Entergy, the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Netherlands. Visit www.deltas2010.com for more information. — Alex Woodward