coastal restoration

Even though Christmas is over, your tree can keep on giving.

WDSU-TV reports officials in Orleans and Jefferson parish are again picking up live trees for use in marsh restoration.

Folks are asked to remove all tinsel and ornaments from trees and then put them on the curb for pickup. Collection dates for both parishes are Jan. 10 through the 12th.

Flocked or painted trees are not eligible for the recycling program.

A Plaquemines Parish high school destroyed by Hurricane Katrina is being turned into an artificial reef in Breton Sound.

Concrete, bricks and mortar from the school are being spread over six to eight acres off California Point for what will be called Buras High School Reef.

Hurricanes and coastal erosion have wiped out many of the area's historically popular fishing holes. Tim Osborne of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says this reef should be very resistant to erosion and weather, serving generations of anglers.

Plaquemines Parish plans to collect Christmas trees after the season to help rebuild wetlands in the coastal parish.

The parish garbage collection company, Solid Waste North and South, will pick them up at curbside after the holidays.

Authorities said all decorations, lights, tinsel, garland and other materials must be removed. Flocked trees cannot be recycled.

Ian McNulty

Working to move Louisiana's coastal crisis beyond local turf wars, and stumping for the state's entire coastal system.

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.