coastal restoration

LSU has been awarded $1.5 million from the National Science Foundation to investigate whether southern coastal Louisiana has reached the tipping point, becoming too costly to sustain.

The interdisciplinary research project will investigate the sustainability of coastal communities that are especially vulnerable to natural resource loss and natural hazards. Nina Lam, professor of environmental science and principle investigator, said Tuesday it's the first study to look at both environmental factors and the human element.

Members of the America’s Wetland Foundation and a bipartisan group of Southern lawmakers are in Washington, D.C. today, making the case that coastal restoration along the Gulf of Mexico is a national issue.

America's Wetland Managing Director Val Marmillion says projects must be coordinated and strategic.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will award a $100,000 grant to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to help fight the Gulf of Mexico's "dead zone."

Vitter says the grant will be used to help reduce hypoxia, or low oxygen levels in the Gulf, caused by increased nutrients transported from the Mississippi River.

More than two years after the catastrophic BP oil spill, environmental groups say billions of dollars BP is expected to spend on restoration should go toward buying tens of thousands of acres of coastal land for conservation, rebuilding Louisiana's eroding wetlands and creating nearly 200 miles of oyster reefs.

The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources says an agreement with the St. Martin Parish School Board has been hammered out to save 640 acres of cypress and hardwood forest under threat of being logged in the Atchafalaya basin.

The school board had allowed the tract to be logged but environmental groups recently intervened and threatened to sue. The lawsuit prompted DNR's conservation plan, according to Dean Wilson, the head of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper.

Environmentalists oppose cypress logging in south Louisiana because the trees are so hard to grow back.

Lafourche Parish officials say a restoration project aimed at rebuilding beach and dunes at West Belle Pass on Fourchon beach is nearly halfway done.

Progress has been made despite some damage from Tropical Storm Debby in late June.

Lafourche Parish Coastal Zone Administrator Archie Chaisson told The Courier that the restoration project was moving along smoothly with 66 percent of the beach and dune recreation finished. Sand fending to prevent erosion is 44 percent complete.

Nature takes a crack at rebuilding marsh

Jul 9, 2012

A small breach on the marsh-covered east bank of the Mississippi River south of New Orleans is giving rise to calls to let the river run wild.

The debate centers on a 77-foot-wide channel the river carved through a levee road in the unused Bohemia spillway in Plaquemines Parish, about 45 miles south of New Orleans. The breach is outside levees that protect thinly populated communities on the sliver of delta that extends south to form Louisiana's boot.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter is highlighting his role as Louisiana's lone member on the congressional committee that drew up a final version of the federal highway bill. But he's omitting the detail that the bill blows an $859 million hole in Louisiana's Medicaid funding.

As President Barack Obama was set to sign the measure into law Friday, Louisiana's Democrats were questioning Vitter's role in slashing the Medicaid dollars and asking if he fought against the cuts.

Legislation assigning 80 percent of BP’s Clean Water Act fines to Gulf Coast states most affected by its oil spill has been approved by Congress. The landmark legislation included in the Transportation Bill is expected to mean billions of dollars for Louisiana.

BATON ROUGE — A scientific study has found that heavily oiled areas in Barataria Bay showed twice the normal land erosion rates in the year and a half after the massive BP oil leak in 2010. The study found oil killed marsh plants and that led to the higher rates of erosion. 

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