Coastal Desk

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Climate change and environmental pollution disproportionately impact people of color. In New Orleans, Dr. Beverly Wright is working to change that. She started the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, which is now housed at Dillard University, and has worked for many years to highlight the environmental and health inequities in the Lower Mississippi River Industrial Corridor, commonly referred to as "Cancer Alley."

A marsh restoration project at work.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

There is a federal law that says when wetlands are destroyed by development or industry, they must be replaced somewhere nearby. It is a provision of the Clean Water Act in place since 1980, but it’s getting new attention because of increased industrial development in Louisiana.

Ryan Hagerty, National Digital Library of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

When John Bel Edwards starts his new job as governor in January he will face lots of big decisions on how to spend BP settlement money and bring in more capital to restore the eroding coast.

The port plans to add rubber-tire gantry cranes like these to add to their container marshalling yard in an effort to increase container handling and turn times.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Business is good for the Port of New Orleans. Cargo shipping is up about 20 percent this year from last. Because the Port is an independent public entity, not run by the city or state, it can take that extra money and invest it right back into operations. There are currently more than $40 million worth of improvements underway as a result.

Louisiana Sea Grant College Program at Louisiana State University

The state is bringing back its program to test fish for mercury, a heavy metal that is dangerous for human consumption. The program will be back up and running in January.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality scaled back the program in 2008, when it ran out of funding.

Mercury comes from burning coal and other industrial activities. It gets into the air and then settles in streams and other waters, where fish absorb it.

Have a question about why your block floods? Or the state of our sewerage and water system? Regional plans for flood protection? What you can do to help make your neighborhood safer from flooding?

Join WWNO's Eve Troeh and experts for a community conversation this Saturday, November 7, at Sojourner Truth Community Center, 2200 Lafitte Ave. RSVP here and/or submit a question.

We'll hear from:

The Tulane Environmental Studies Program joins with WWNO and the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic for the fourth event in its series on “The Katrina Disaster Now”: a conversation about rising seas, sinking land, climate change, Louisiana, justice, and community – featuring leaders from diverse communities across the Louisiana coast in an event moderated by NPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott.

Detroit Publishing Company photo via Library of Congress website

The Mississippi River ferry terminal downtown will soon be expanding. The city has received a $10 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop the terminal at the end of Canal Street.

The Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a new way to measure the value of wetlands and restore those destroyed by industry.

The proposed Louisiana Wetlands Rapid Assessment Method, or LRAM, is a compensatory wetland mitigation method that will help them evaluate different types of wetlands, like bottomland hardwoods or cypress swamp, and determine how to offset destruction caused by development.

If a company wants to build in the wetlands it has to replace what is destroyed.

The state announced on Wednesday that it will divert water from the Mississippi River to rebuild eroding wetlands in Plaquemines Parish.

The Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton diversions are the first two projects of this scale.