Your e-mails: After Katrina
CNN.com users on the future of coastal wetlands
(CNN) -- Development and storms have eroded much of the coastal wetlands that provide "speed bumps" for approaching storms. CNN.com asked readers whether steps should be taken to build them back. Here is a sampling of those responses, some of which have been edited:
We screw around with the environment too much as it is. We should let Mother Nature run her course when it comes to issues such as these, where the destruction comes from a natural disaster itself!
The question we should ask ourselves is, "What would we gain by rebuilding the eroded or removed wetlands?" and compare those benefits to what it would cost to rebuild them. If the costs exceed the actual benefits, then we shouldn't rebuild them. If the government invokes its eminent domain powers to condemn and reclaim land for public use, each and every single land owner affected will have to be "fairly and justly compensated," and in my opinion, it would be too costly to rebuild the wetlands.
All of our coastal wetlands should be 100 percent restored over time. That means no new development and no replacing of any development that's been destroyed by storms. There probably should be agencies in the states concerned that could oversee the correct ecological restoration of these wetlands. The money would have to come out of each state's budget.
If development has caused the erosion of wetlands, then the developers should be responsible for rebuilding them. However, if a wetland was destroyed or damaged by the recent hurricanes, to me, this is part of the natural evolution of the environment and they shouldn't be rebuilt by man. These areas should be protected and allowed to progress in their own manner. Development should not occur in these areas. Let the land regenerate itself in its due course and time.
The wetlands are a vital component to the ecosystem. They help preserve the characteristics that drew people to visit or live along the coasts. The wetlands must be preserved.
I'm sure the "lefties" would love another reason to spend a billion dollars of taxpayer money, but the answer is simply no.
Rebuilding hurricane-damaged wetlands provides us with a unique opportunity to practice a form of restoration that has been termed "reconciliation ecology." These restored wetlands can serve as both a buffer against future storms and a habitat for thousands of species of plants and animals. This helps protect people, their homes and businesses while replacing wetlands that have been drained in the past. It's a win-win situation for people and the environment.
We should not be developing coastal wetlands or repeatedly repairing reclaimed shorelines. Creating reefs from scrap ships strategically placed is one thing, but spending millions to add sand back to a once-upon-a-time beach is a waste.
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