The trouble is, building such ramparts could choke off the marshes by impeding the natural ebb and flow of the tides. Fish and wildlife may not be able to access the fertile estuaries, which they use as breeding ground. And the whole delta is sinking anyway (while sea level rises), making it just a matter of time before the levees are over-topped by a strong storm.
"Building what they call 'the Louisiana wall' makes sense at first, but the science doesn't support it," Bahr said. "The science should be leading this issue, but it isn't. It never has."
Unfortunately, the berms project has charged ahead in this vein, seeking to build (and spend hundreds of millions of dollars) first, and ask questions later.
Bahr said that the man who took these pictures wished to remain nameless, fearing retribution from the governor's office. All he would say is that the photographer is a reputable source and an employee with a federal agency.
By last Wednesday, when the above picture was taken, the island appeared heavily eroded, and waves were breaking on submerged construction equipment.
"I don't think this kind of program is ever going to successfully keep oil out of the marshes," Bahr said.
On his website, Bahr publicly predicted the berms would be washed away by the end of the hurricane season, Nov. 30. If the type of erosion depicted in these images keeps up, that may prove to have been a conservative estimate.