environment

The Army Corps of Engineers used small cranes to slowly begin opening up the Bonnet Carre Spillway.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carré Spillway Sunday morning in order to relieve the swollen Mississippi River and prevent flooding in New Orleans.

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Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Colonel Rick Hansen, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District,  says it’s time to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway in order to divert floodwaters and protect New Orleans.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

As the Mississippi and Red Rivers rise, officials are grappling with how to manage all of the water. The Army Corps of Engineers may open the Mississippi River’s Bonnet Carré Spillway this weekend.

New Orleans District Commander, Col. Rick Hansen, says it is time to open the spillway. Just west of the city, it diverts the Mississippi River to protect New Orleans.

Mississippi River flood stage predictions over the most recent, and next several, days.
National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the Mississippi River in New Orleans and surrounding areas, effective January 12. This comes as floodwater from devastating winter rain in the Midwest makes its way south.

The river is expected to reach flood stage, 17 feet, in the next week. Rain is also in the forecast starting Wednesday night, adding to the risk of flooding. NWS warns not to drive cars through flooded areas.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge is between Slidell and Mandeville. Founded in the 1990s, it protects endangered birds and combats coastal land loss. It’s not just wildlife that thrives at Big Branch. The park’s volunteer program brings people of all ages and backgrounds together.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities in 2016 here. 

 

Nick Janzen

The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is a shipping canal that runs over 1,000 miles from Texas to Florida. But in Lafourche Parish, it’s become more than an industrial throughway. It's a battle line against coastal erosion, and experts are determined to keep saltwater out of it.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

A new state study says land loss could cost Louisiana a lot of money if nothing is done. The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority commissioned the study, which was done by LSU and the RAND Corporation.

Jesse Hardman

Congress will vote Friday on the federal spending bill and that could mean more money for Louisiana. It includes more than $10 million for the Louisiana Coastal Area Program (LCA.) The program is a partnership between the Army Corps of Engineers and the state.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The international climate talks wrapped up in Paris this weekend as the United Nations parties finalized an agreement to stave off climate change. The terms of the agreement call for limiting global temperature rise to around 1.5 degrees Celsius, well below the initial goal of 2 degrees.

WWNO’s Tegan Wendland talked with Bob Thomas, professor and director of Loyola’s center for environmental communication, about whether it will make a difference.

A comprehensive water-management plan for the greater New Orleans region is marking its second year. Partners in the program say they’re optimistic that people will adapt to a new way of living with water.

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