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.

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.

Heavy rains in the Midwest have caused the Mississippi River to swell. To relieve pressure on local levees, the Army Corps of Engineers will begin operating the Bonnet Carre Spillway in Norco on Wednesday.

The levees near New Orleans are only built to handle water moving at 1.25 million cubic feet per second -- quick enough to fill the Superdome in about a minute, the Corps estimates. When the river gets going that fast the Corps opens the spillway, diverting some of that water into Lake Pontchartrain.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup: officials investigate who or what might have been behind all the dead pelicans in Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes. Plus, an update on the Taylor Energy oil well that’s been leaking in the Gulf of Mexico for almost 15 years.

WWNO’s Travis Lux talks with environment reporter Tristan Baurick from Nola.com | The Times-Picayune about the week in coastal news.

The spending bill signed by President Trump last week will increase the amount of money for inspections of imported seafood -- a move praised by the local shrimp industry.

The United States is importing more and more shrimp from other countries, some of which is produced with antibiotics that are banned in the US. So when it’s tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s rejected.

The chemicals used to clean up the BP oil spill may not have been as bad as previous studies suggest -- that’s one of a few themes from the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science (GOMOSES) Conference this week.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, WWNO’s Travis Lux talks with Nola.com | The Times-Picayune environment reporter Tristan Baurick about the latest in oil spill science.

Plus, Tristan tells us about his search for the elusive black rail -- a threatened bird that’s found a home in the precarious marshes of coastal Louisiana.

Louisiana’s soil is sinking much faster than previously thought -- that’s the conclusion of a new report out this week from Tulane University.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, WWNO’s Travis Lux speaks with Tulane wetlands geologist Molly Keogh, who authored the report, about what that means for sea level rise predictions in Louisiana.

This week on the coastal news roundup - an update on Isle de Jean Charles.  It was big news in 2016 when the state was awarded $48 million to relocate people from the disappearing island. But the process has not been smooth; permanent relocation hasn’t happened yet, and a Native American tribe blames that on the state.

WWNO’s Tegan Wendland talked with Chantel Comeradelle, tribal secretary of Isle de Jean Charles band of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, WWNO’s Travis Lux talks with columnist Bob Marshall from Nola.com | The Times-Picayune. They reviewed some of the big environmental news of 2018 -- and look ahead toward the likely stories of 2019.

 

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