mississippi river

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.

Ryan Utz / Chatham University

A new study shows waterways across the country are getting saltier — including the Mississippi River. That has implications for the ecosystem and for drinking water.

 

The salt comes from two main places. Road salt — which is used to help melt ice and snow on roadways — and also agricultural fertilizers. Fertilizers often have potassium in them, which is a salt.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) wants feedback on its list of projects for the next year. Officials are holding a series of public meetings. The first meeting was last night in Belle Chasse.

 

The state’s big-picture plan to protect and restore the coast is updated every five years — it includes plans for things like river diversions and rebuilding marshes. That’s the Master Plan. But the money for those projects is approved on a yearly basis — the Annual Plan.

Travis Lux / WWNO

More than 20,000 scientists from around the world came to New Orleans this week for the American Geophysical Union conference. From minerals and volcanoes to oceans, space, and climate change -- they presented all kinds of research.

 

Sara Sneath from Nola.com/The Times-Picayune was there. So was WWNO’s Travis Lux. This week on the Coastal News Roundup, they met up at the conference to talk about the latest in coastal research.

U.S. Drought Monitor

This week on the Coastal News Roundup: Texas wants to buy Louisiana’s water, coastal cities face credit downgrades, and new research on how when ice sheets melt, sea levels rise unevenly across the globe.

Coastal News Roundup: The Latest On The Tiny Bug Eating The Marsh

Sep 15, 2017
Travis Lux / WWNO

An invasive insect plaguing the coast has killed thousands of acres of tall marsh grass that bind our fragile wetlands together. Coastal researchers worry that the threat could increase the rate of coastal erosion and destroy fish habitat. Fishermen are worried.

LSU/LUMCON

The dead zone is an area in the Gulf of Mexico where the oxygen is so low that fish and shrimp can’t live.

 

Scientists say this year’s dead zone is 8,776 square miles now -- about the size of New Jersey. Over the last five years it’s averaged 5,543 square miles.

 

It’s caused largely by agricultural runoff from the Midwest, and brought downstream by the Mississippi River. That runoff is high in nitrates, from fertilizer, which causes algae to bloom. When the algae dies, it sucks oxygen out of the water.

Travis Lux / WWNO

Louisiana’s coast is disappearing for a few reasons: natural sinking of the land, saltwater intrusion, and sea level rise.

 

Now there’s another threat: a little tiny bug from the other side of the ocean. It’s killing plants and destroying marshes at the mouth of the river, worrying the state and the shipping industry.

 

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The Mississippi River remains high as floodwater makes its way south from the Midwest, and the Army Corps of Engineers is inspecting the levees daily for problems like leaks.

 

The Corps started inspecting the river about two weeks ago, as the water began to rise.

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