We are now two weeks out from Hurricane Issacâ€™s landfall in Southeast Louisiana. Many of the communities hardest hit have a long road to recovery. Some of these communities are still working to remove the water. It is during trying times like these that we urge you to reach deep to provide much needed support for our coastal communities. If youâ€™ve already been thinking about getting involved by volunteering or donating, here are some great organizations that could use your help:
Hurricane Isaac showed that much of BPâ€™s oil remains in the soils and just below the waters of the Gulf, even in many areas the Coast Guard has begun to let BP off the hook for cleanup. BP should be cleaning up their mess, and the Coast Guard should be holding them responsible for it.
The large amount of tarballs, tarmats, and oil coming ashore in areas that saw some of the most severe damage in 2010 and 2011 are clearly BPâ€™s responsibility, but the Coast Guard has allowed BP to question that fact in many areas, slowing response time by requiring unnecessary steps to drag out the process.
Please join us today in calling on the Coast Guard to continue holding BPâ€™s feet to the fire to clean up resurgent oil and to stop prematurely letting BP off the hook anywhere else on the Gulf Coast.
Yesterday, I made a second attempt of the week to venture out into Barataria Bay, Bay Jimmy and other points of interest to check on Hurricane Isaac impacts.
Along with Joe Smyth and Jesse Coleman from Greenpeace, we made it from New Orleans to the 6am convoy that took us over the Mississippi river levee along LA Hwy. 23 near Myrtle Grove. In Port Sulphur, we met up with charter boat captain Todd Seitler from Cajun Fishing Adventures and launched from a private launch. Several other launches were either too damaged or too clogged with storm debris to operate.
I happened to run into Linda Hooper-Bui who was launching from the same place to go check on her research into the impacts the BP disaster is having on insects in northern Barataria and Bay Jimmy. Linda mentioned that the marsh at one of her sights in Bay Batiste near Bayou Dulac had fresh oil on it. So, without haste, we headed that way.
Indeed, there was fresh oil coating the marsh grass. It reminded me of late May 2010, the first time I saw BPâ€™s oil make landfall.
Here are a two quick updates and slideshows regarding two more monitoring trips we conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (if you have immediate relief needs, please see this blog post with lists of resources):
On Tuesday, September 4th Scott Eustis and I from GRN and Joe Smyth and Jesse Coleman from Greenpeace boarded a charter boat at the Biloxi Small Craft Boat Launch in Biloxi, Mississippi. Our objective on this day was to survey the damage and possible reoccurrence of BP oil on Horn and Ship Islands, islands that are part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Due to constraints, we were unable to make it to Horn Island. Instead, we spent the day on East Ship Island and West Ship Island. Because of tidal conditions, our Captain had to anchor the boat and let us off so that we could walk ashore in chest deep water with all of our gear. We did just that and were able to scout the islands and look for impacts from Hurricane Isaac.
Hurricane Isaac showed that much of BPâ€™s oil remains in the soils and just below the waters of the Gulf, even in many areas the Coast Guard has let BP off the hook for cleanup. Tarballs, tarmats, oil, and oily debris have been washed ashore in areas particularly hard hit by the oil disaster. A long stretch of the Louisiana coast has been closed due to the resurgence of tarballs and tarmats. A GRN trip to Ship and Horn Islands off the coast of Mississippi yesterday found a plethora of tarballs and other oily debris and remnants likely from BPâ€™s oil.
Hurricane Isaac has had an enormous impact on Gulf Coast communities, many still recovering from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike and, of course, the BP oil disaster. Although these communities are hailed for their resiliency, most recently by the president himself, we know that the road to recovery is long and hard. Additionally, sometimes not knowing where to look for resources can hinder the recovery process. From our 18 years of experience as an advocate for the Gulf, GRN understands this and is committed to being a resource for information.
Here are some important numbers and website to help your recovery begin:
Today, GRNâ€™s Scott Eustis and I conducted a flyover to survey damage to communities and the environment in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac. Thank you to Josephine Billups for making this flight possible and Southern Seaplanes for accommodating us. I took over 2000 photos and video today so the slide show below is only meant to be a general update of some of the places we surveyed and the damages we encountered and documented. You can expect to read and see more from Scott and I in the coming days about specific issues and more detailed analysis after we have had time to harvest and process the information.
In the meantime, please be sure to enlarge the slideshow on your screen and click on Show Info on the images so that you can see a brief description of what you are looking at as well as date, time, and GPS data. And please be sure to share them far and wide.
Okay New Orleans, it's game time. I flew over these canals and pumping stations last Saturday (Thank you Southwings and Pilot Lance Rydberg) to document stormwater management infrastructure for our Flood-Free New Orleans campaign. Fingers crossed that they do their job!
Jonathan Henderson is the Coastal Resiliency Organizer for GRN.
August 29th will always be an infamous day on the Gulf Coast. Seven years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina and its storm surge swamped the Gulf Coast and the world watched us drown. This week was supposed to be filled with solemn commemorations and celebrations of how far we've come since 80% of New Orleans flooded and much of the Mississippi Gulf Coast was razed. I was especially looking forward to hearing and participating in a series of panel discussions focused on various arenas of grassroots organizing that flourished after Katrina.
Instead, we find ourselves once again battening down the hatches and preparing cars for evacuation as Tropical Storm Isaac builds steam over the warm waters of the Gulf. Our hearts go out to everyone in harms way, and we encourage all residents of the Gulf to take this threat seriously and act accordingly. The National Hurricane Service is issuing regular updates, and localnews websites have up-to-date evacuation information. The State of Louisiana has a useful evacuation guide, and there are some things to prepare for those who ride it out.
The State has dedicated a significant portion of the Masterplanâ€™s budget to the development and implementation of this so-called non-structural program. Non-structural measures are those that can be taken at the individual level, not those relying on engineers, like levees and marsh creation. These measures are critical to ensuring that high-risk communities along the coastal are better protected from recurring flooding.