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 Coypu Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and local listeners.

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Travis Lux / WWNO

More than 100 volunteers fanned out across City Park over the weekend for something called BioBlitz. It was an effort to document all the plants and critters that call the park home, and meant to help the park plan for the future.

 

Sean Augustine may be eight years old, but he knows how to prepare for a day in the woods. He’s got a big hat, multi-pocketed cargo pants, and boots. He’s also got a raincoat on hand because he doesn’t want anything to get in the way of the day’s mission.

Lauren Sullivan / Flicker/CC BY-SA 2.0

A new study shows Louisiana’s land loss has slowed down a little bit. But that’s still not necessarily good news.

 

It’s almost become a tired refrain here in Louisiana -- the state loses an average of about a football field of land every hour. Now it takes about 100 minutes, roughly an hour and a half for that much land to wash into the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (CC BY 2.0)

Louisiana isn’t the only place in the world trying to fight back the ocean. Much of the Netherlands is below sea level, and the Dutch are well-known for their water management expertise.

 

State officials in Louisiana are signing a formal agreement to tap into that knowledge.

 

Travis Lux / WWNO

Louisiana’s coast is disappearing for a few reasons: natural sinking of the land, saltwater intrusion, and sea level rise.

 

Now there’s another threat: a little tiny bug from the other side of the ocean. It’s killing plants and destroying marshes at the mouth of the river, worrying the state and the shipping industry.

 

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Florida is facing major threats from climate change and sea level rise. Up to six feet of water could inundate the coast by the end of the century. Officials are trying to prepare and “resilience officers” are leading the charge in the Miami-area. 

WWNO’s Tegan Wendland met up with James Murley, Miami-Dade’s chief resilience officer, to talk about how the tourist mecca is grappling with these challenges. 

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

Travis Lux / WWNO

The state has a coastal master plan to stave off land loss and each parish has it’s own plans for the coast.

 

In Terrebonne Parish, officials are looking for public buy-in. Earlier this week they invited people to the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center for Coastal Day -- a science fair of sorts displaying all the coastal projects in their backyard.

 

The Data Center

Louisiana spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year to restore and protect the coastline with big earth-moving projects, like building marshes and barrier islands.

 

The state hires professional contractors to bring in their backhoes, dozers, dredges and workboats to do the job. It’s big business. But a new report says not enough of that money is staying in the state. And with billions of dollars coming from the BP settlement, some see that as a problem.

 

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

Much of the money the state plans to get through the BP oil spill settlement will go toward big construction projects -- building barrier islands and levees.

 

Some of that money is reserved for coastal research projects, and the first projects have been announced.

 

One of the big ways the scientific research gets done on the coast is through specific projects. The state or the feds have money for a project -- like a barrier island -- and they might ask scientists to look into something for them.

National Weather Service (NWS)

The National Weather Service (NWS) lifted its tropical storm warning the the New Orleans metro area this morning. But Mayor Mitch Landrieu says we could still feel the storm’s effects.

 

“We’re not in the clear yet,” he says.

 

The city is still under a tornado watch until 7pm Wednesday, and the NWS expects three to six inches of additional rain over the next two days.

 

If that rain falls in a very short amount of time, the city could experience localized flooding.

Travis Lux / WWNO

Cities and parishes across the coast are bracing for the potential impact of Tropical Storm Cindy and urging citizens to stay safe

 

The National Hurricane Center says heavy rainfall and flooding are the biggest threats posed by this storm system. Cindy could drop anywhere from three to 12 inches over the next few days, with the heaviest rainfall expected Wednesday and Thursday. Areas areas along coast could see up to three feet of flooding.

 

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