Coastal Desk

Coastal Desk
5:27 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Why Do We Measure Wetlands Loss In Football Fields?

Bayou Dularge in Terrebonne Parish.
Credit Jesse Hardman / WWNO

What happens when you combine the most popular sport in the U.S. with one of the most dire environmental situations in the country? The catchy analogy that a football field sized piece of Louisiana coastal wetlands is lost every half-hour.

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Coastal Desk
5:36 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Louisiana Oil Refinery Workers Join Nationwide Strike

St. Bernard Parish oil refinery that was severely damaged during Hurricane Katrina.
Credit Jacinta Quesada/FEMA / Wikimedia Commons

This weekend, Louisiana workers joined the largest national oil refinery strike in over 30 years. 1,350 employees from the Motiva refineries in Convent and Norco, Louisiana, joined fellow members of the United Steelworkers union in asking the industry to change the current safety requirements. 

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Coastal Desk
2:39 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Did The French Quarter Flood After Katrina? Yes, About Nine Percent Of It

A photo taken in the immediate days after Hurricane Katrina shows floodwaters on Canal Street, crossing into the French Quarter.
Richard Campanella

As NBC announces the 6-month, unpaid suspension of news anchor Brian Williams, controversy over the truth of many of his high-profile reporting trips continues.

While the scandal erupted related to questions about Iraq, in 2003, it has also brought into question Williams’ 2005 reporting in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Among other claims, Williams reported floodwaters around his French Quarter hotel.

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Coastal Desk
8:30 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

WWNO's Coastal Glossary

Aerial view of wetlands
Credit U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services / Wikimedia Commons

As we explore the Gulf Coast more comprehensively than ever before, trying to understand better the complex relationships inherent in the restoration process, there's a lot to learn and keep track of.

In order to both understand and talk about coastal erosion, an expanded vocabulary is needed — one filled with brand-new terms whose definitions are integral to absorbing the problems and solutions Louisiana faces around water and land loss.

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Coastal Desk
7:16 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Delta Blues Part 3: Better Together

Boat on the river in Can Tho, the largest city in the Mekong Delta.
Credit Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Louisiana faces the highest relative rates of sea level rise in the world. As policy and funding debates rage over how to best restore and protect our coastal communities, local leaders also look for allies elsewhere.

On the other side of the globe, Louisiana has found sympathetic ears in Vietnam. That nation also has a below-sea-level region at the mouth of a great river. Increased conversation and meetings aim to find out how shared geography might lead to shared solutions. 

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Environment
5:16 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

EPA Push For Massive Munitions Burn Ignites Opposition In Louisiana

Melissa Downer and her family moved to Camp Minden, La., 11 years ago and live on three acres. The mother of three young daughters says they'll move if the M6 is burned in the open air.
Kate Archer Kent Red River Radio

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 7:17 pm

Explosions used to be no big deal for residents of sleepy rural towns in north Louisiana's piney woods near the Arkansas border. Blasts meant jobs.

The Army's Camp Minden was the site of a former ammunition factory built during World War II. The factory closed in the 1990s. Still, the place is littered with millions of pounds of leftover artillery waste.

The stuff in question is called M6, a toxic propellant in grenades and artillery rounds. The Army doesn't use it anymore, and tons of M6 are stored in bunkers at Camp Minden.

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Coastal Desk
10:19 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Delta Blues Part 2: When Life Gives You Saltwater, Make Shrimp Ponds

Farmers in Vietnam's Mekong delta adapt to climate change as saltwater creeps onto their land.
Jesse Hardman WWNO

Louisiana faces the highest relative rates of sea level rise in the world. As policy and funding debates rage over how to best restore and protect our coastal communities, local leaders also look for allies elsewhere.

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Coastal Desk
8:25 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

'Blue Carbon Credits' May Be New Way To Fund Coastal Restoration

Sarah Mack of Tierra Resources addresses a crowd at a panel on Coastal Wetland Restoration and Entrepreneurship in Louisiana, held at Propeller on January 27, 2015.
Credit Laine Kaplan-Levenson / WWNO

A New Orleans organization is trying to help fund coastal restoration by quantifying Louisiana wetlands, using hard numbers as a way to offset global carbon emissions.

Companies that send lots of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — such as power plants and oil refineries — need to offset some of that pollution. So they invest in green carbon projects by spending money on things like protecting forests. One Louisiana company wants to expand that tactic to the Gulf Coast.

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Coastal Desk
10:00 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Delta Blues Part 1: The Battle To Keep Ho Chi Minh City Above Water

Ho Chi Minh City's population is expanding rapidly at the same time as climate change places stress on its infrastructure.
Eve Troeh

Louisiana faces the highest relative rates of sea level rise in the world. As policy and funding debates rage over how to best restore and protect our coastal communities, local leaders also look for allies elsewhere.

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Coastal Desk
3:22 am
Mon January 19, 2015

New Justice Department Environment Chief Takes Helm Of Gulf Spill Case

Cruden ranks the Gulf oil spill as one of the most significant environmental disasters of our time. It "deserves ... all of our energy to make sure nothing like this ever happens again," he says.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 6:37 am

John Cruden served with U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, taking his law school aptitude test in Saigon and eventually becoming a government lawyer.

Earlier this month, he started a new job running the environment and natural resources division at the Justice Department. For Cruden, 68, the new role means coming home to a place where he worked as a career lawyer for about 20 years.

Cruden has been around long enough to have supervised the Exxon Valdeez spill case, a record-setter. That is, until the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

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