He and others also strongly recommend that scientist input be sought much more extensively. "I don't care who wants to control the work," Mashriqui asserts. "But whoever it is has to listen to the data. If our models show that the funnel effect will kill people, then there is no excuse not to close the funnel."
Bahr agrees that engineers "have not so far engaged research scientists nearly enough. And we need anthropologists and social scientists to help figure out the people issues. Some parishes [counties] were virtually wiped out by Katrina. Where does it make sense, socially, to rebuild?" Williams, the USGS veteran who also worked at the Corps for 13 years, says scientists continually "put data out there, but it has no effect on its own. Politicians and planners have to take it from there."
Wagonaar, a longtime Corps member who took over the New Orleans district last July, says that in the future the Corps will better integrate outside experts: "We are generally a lot more open than we were five or six years ago, especially with regard to environmental issues. But we can't study this situation forever either. Someone will have to make a decision."�