coastal desk

Travis Lux / WWNO

Countries across the world are starting to ban some microplastics. Like microbeads — the tiny pieces of plastic used in soap and face washes.

 

This time of year in New Orleans, it’s almost raining plastic, from beads to glitter. Lots of glitter. But what happens to all that sparkly stuff after it washes away? WWNO’s Travis Lux took a look at the environmental consequences of glitter.

Louisiana State University

LSU unveiled a big, new model of the lower Mississippi River Monday. It will be used to simulate floods and help the state figure out how to use the river to rebuild the coast.

LA SAFE

Louisiana’s Coastal Master plan focuses on restoring and protecting the coast: Building levees, marshes and land. But even with those investments, the state still expects to deal with flooding in the future. Many communities are still going to have to figure out how adapt for the long term.

Tristan Baurick / Nola.com|The Times-Picayune

Every Friday, coastal reporters from WWNO and Nola.com | The Times-Picayune come together to talk about the week in coastal news.

This week: a platform fire in the Gulf, concern around Sewerage and Water Board contracts and an effort to rebuild the coast from the sky.

Travis Lux / WWNO

For decades, oil and gas companies dug canals through Louisiana's marshes looking for oil and building pipelines.

Those canals are one of the big causes of coastal land loss. Now a handful of parishes are suing the oil and gas companies over that damage.

It seems like filling the canals back in with soil would be a good way to fix the damage, but that's not part of the state's new Coastal Master Plan.

Rear Admiral Paul Thomas is Coast Guard commander for the Gulf.
Jess Clark / WWNO

New Orleans dodged any major damage from Hurricane Harvey. Here, the last few days, the weather has been sunny and clear with big fresh gusts of wind — pretty much as good as it gets this time of year.

But on the 13th floor of the federal building on Poydras street, it might as well be ground zero in Houston. There, a small team of Coast Guard members is working 24-7 to support search and rescue efforts hundreds of miles away.  


Travis Lux / WWNO

Last August, several days of heavy rain flooded the Baton Rouge area. From Baton Rouge to Denham Springs to Gonzales -- rising waters flooded out around one hundred thousand homes and caused billions of dollars worth of damage. Recovery is ongoing, even nine months later.

 

The Baton Rouge area isn’t the only part of the state still struggling this many months out. The damage rippled out across the state -- all the way down to the tiny town of Leeville, near Grand Isle, along the coast.

 

Delayed Restoration Project Breaks Ground

May 16, 2017
Travis Lux / WWNO

The Army Corps will use sand and silt from the bottom of the Mississippi River to build new marshes. The restoration project has been delayed for several years, but is set to break ground next month.

Flickr/Washington State House Republicans's photostream (CC BY-ND 2.0)

On Monday, Congress unveiled a spending bill that would fund the federal government through September. It includes $9 million for coastal restoration projects in Louisiana.

 

In an effort to help the state fight coastal land loss, the Army Corps of Engineers sometimes uses the mud it dredges from from navigation channels and the Mississippi River to rebuild marshes. It’s the Corps’ job to keep the river passable, so in these cases it reuses the material that it digs up.

New Orleans City Park / cityparkgolf.com

City parks are good for water runoff. Open green areas soak up rain and trees wick it down into the water table. So in a wet city like New Orleans, City Park is an important asset.

 

WWNO’s Tegan Wendland sat down with CEO Bob Becker to learn about how water management was considered in the park’s new golf course. The park is independent - it doesn’t get money from the city - and Becker says they needed the $26 million course to cover a quarter of the park’s budget.

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