Coastal Desk

Southeast Louisiana is sinking under the waves faster than any coastal landscape in the world. With so much at stake for Louisiana and the nation, WWNO has made coastal news a priority.

Since mid-2014 our Coastal Desk reporting team has been producing frequent news reports and in-depth features covering coastal erosion and restoration; hurricane protection; offshore energy and other coastal businesses; wildlife and fisheries impacts; and coastal communities and culture.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and local listeners.

Towns along the Upper Mississippi River are dealing with some of the worst flooding they’ve ever seen. Busted levees. Flooded downtowns. What does that mean for us in Louisiana? When should we be concerned, and when should we not be?

The Army Corps of Engineers expects to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway Friday afternoon.

Located upriver from New Orleans, the Bonnet Carre Spillway acts as a release valve for the Mississippi River. When the water reaches a flow of 1.25 million cubic feet per second, the Corps opens the spillway to divert some of that water into Lake Pontchartrain.

From flooding to commerce to recreation -- the Mississippi River poses all kinds of challenges and opportunities for those who live along its banks.

Travis Lux, WWNO Coastal Reporter, and Sara Sneath, environment reporter for Nola.com | The Times-Picayune, spent this past week traveling along the river with a group of journalists from around the country. The trip was made possible by the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources. St. Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg -- all the way down to the river’s mouth.

The reporters’ big takeaway? The river impacts a lot of people in a lot of different ways.

A number of environmental bills are working their way through the state legislature, and Nola.com/The Times Picayune’s Tristan Baurick is following them.

One bill, swiftly cast aside by the House Natural Resources committee, would have required the state’s most frequent air quality violators to install pollution monitoring systems to track emissions and alert nearby communities.

During the BP oil spill in 2010, responders used chemical dispersants to break up the oil. Recent studies have questioned both the safety and efficacy of those chemicals. Other studies have suggested that those concerns are overblown.

So which is it? Are dispersants dangerous? Or are they not? And why is it so hard to figure out?

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, environment reporter Tristan Baurick from Nola.com | The Times Picayune, sorts it all out with WWNO’s Travis Lux.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup -- the City of New Orleans joins six other parishes by filing a lawsuit against the oil and gas industry over damage to the coast. Plus -- can levees keep up with subsidence and sea level rise? The Army Corps of Engineers starts a study to find out.

 

This week on the Coastal News Roundup: the hotly contested Bayou Bridge Pipeline is finally complete. Plus, an update on two environmental lawsuits.

WWNO’s Travis Lux got all the details from Sara Sneath, environment reporter for NOLA.com | The Times Picayune.

The company that owns a big chemical factory in Jefferson Parish wants to expand, but is getting pushback from residents who are concerned about air qua

The Mississippi River has been at flood stage for months. Levees and spillways keep most homes and businesses safe and dry from the flood waters, but the high water still creates headaches for levee districts and industries like oil and gas, and fisheries.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, WWNO coastal reporter Travis Lux went to find out how the river creates problems we can’t always see. WWNO’s Tegan Wendland got the details.

Last year, the city of New Orleans announced that workers had sucked 46 tons of Mardi Gras beads from catch basins on the side of the road. And that was from just five blocks along St. Charles Avenue -- one of the main parade routes.

That news got a lot of attention, and a growing number of people are trying to figure out how to reduce Mardi Gras waste -- without reducing the magic.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, WWNO’s Travis Lux and Thomas Walsh take a look at what’s being done.

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