Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 2:25pm

Louisiana Redfish
Photo by: Louisiana Angler

Gulf Fish Forever is a campaign that generates a lot of conversation. Of course, many conversations are about the complexities of fishery management in the Gulf of Mexico.

Commercial anglers, recreational  anglers, chefs and consumers often share the same concerns about our fisheries - how can we manage our marine resources sustainably?

“Sustainability” is a key concern for all parties involved in the discussion about Gulf fishery management. Sustainability is a word that holds such a vague definition in the world of environmental advocacy that it has become virtually ineffective. At first, the word  is satisfying to hear, until one realizes the vastness of its use. What does sustainability actually  mean?

In order to get a better idea of what sustainability means to those using the term professionally, I spoke with staff at Gulf Restoration Network.
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Friday, June 24, 2016 - 5:06pm
The Pearl River Basin, seen from above

The Louisiana State Legislature did something this month. And it will actually benefit community members! Thanks to a bill introduced by freshwoman Senator Beth Mizell, residents of Washington Parish will no longer have to fear the Washington Parish Reservoir District.

Established in 2003 for the sole purpose of developing a reservoir, this ‘special district’ has long planned to dam the Bogue Lusa Creek. The Bogue Lusa flows into the Pearl River, eventually into the Gulf. Suffocating the Bogue Lusa would stifle the Pearl’s flow and flood over a thousand acres of wetland forest, habitat that’s rich in biodiversity and hard to recreate. Like all wetlands, these acres buffer wind speeds, absorb storm surges, and filter freshwater supplies.

This decade-long fight has been about more than just wetlands. Louisiana citizens have called the reservoir site home for generations. Were a reservoir ever to materialize, it would flood countless...

Friday, June 24, 2016 - 2:40pm

Taylor Energy LeakYesterday, Gulf Restoration Network and Southwings flew over coastal Louisiana, documenting the continuing Taylor oil leak 12 miles off the coast of Louisiana and various coastal restoration sites. The Taylor energy site has been leaking since Hurricane Ivan toppled the offshore platform in 2004. The sheen from Taylor extended over an area of about 5 miles by 600 feet wide.

For 12 years, Taylor Energy has polluted the Gulf without being held fully accountable for ongoing harm to Gulf waters and coastal communities, as well as to the dolphins, whales and fish who live there. The continuing Taylor spill is an extreme example of industry harm, but frequent spills and leaks are the norm. Time after time, we see the oil and gas industry unwilling or unable to respond to the destruction...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 2:05pm

Mayor Landrieu speaking. 

On Friday, June 3rd, members of the GRN staff attended a half-day workshop within the State of the Gulf Conference entitled Restoration on the Half-Shelf: Presentations in Non-Technical Language. 

Organized by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana  (CRCL), The Water Institute of the Gulf, and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA), the new program offered a general history of Louisiana’s coastal restoration efforts along with a discussion of current progress and future plans. Broken up into two panels, the first session highlighted the dangers and risks posed by the current land loss crisis while the second session focused on possible community and administrative action. 

To begin the panel discussion “Louisiana’s Coastal Land Loss Crisis,” David Muth, the Director of the Gulf Restoration Program in Louisiana for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), highlighted the various ways in which the...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 10:47am

At the end of April, strong storms hit the city of Gulfport causing the mayor to declare a state of emergency. Over 140 homes flooded, and first responders, including two five-ton trucks and three swift water rescue teams, stayed busy rescuing people from homes and businesses. This was a strong storm, but the kind of storm we expect regularly in the Gulf. 

Much of the flooding was predictable and avoidable. Unfortunately, the City of Gulfport has a history of dangerous developmental practices, including filling in wetlands. This practice allows the cheapest path for development, providing profits for developers at a huge cost to residents and first responders.  Gulfport relies on gravity drainage, but April’s rains showed the vulnerability of the city’s drainage and stormwater handling system. Existing wetlands need to be left in place in areas of the city where foreseeable flood risks are...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - 11:32am

This guest blog post was written by Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director of Earth Ethics. The mission of Earth Ethics is to educate the public and increase awareness about environmental and social issues at local, regional, and global levels in an effort to engage, empower, and encourage public involvement towards positive resolutions.

 

I have always been fascinated by the term “the bible belt”. Apparently there are several bible belts throughout the U.S.  At 515 miles long, through three southern states, I’m sure that the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline runs through at least one of them. Before I ask what does it mean to stand up to Sabal Trail, I have to ask- What does it mean to be a Christian?  I ask because, as a Christian myself, aren’t we supposed to be living our lives based on the scripture and the teachings of Christ? Do we get to pick and...

Monday, June 13, 2016 - 11:49am

Since last month's deep leak and weak response in Green Canyon, we've been wondering what other shoes are yet to drop.  In 2004, Shell Offshore Inc. touted the "cost-effective" pipeline placement method in Glider field as the new "standard". What other places may have been compromised in the rush to "cost-effectiveness"? The Gulf has over 1000 miles of suspect pipe in its depths.

Using data from BOEM's website, we created an interactive map of Shell-affiliated pipelines deeper than 400m in the Gulf. One of Shell's companies, Shell Offshore Inc., has over 1600 Kilometers (~1000 miles) of deep pipeline sprawling across the Gulf floor. 


 

Check out Skytruth's map for platforms in the Gulf.  Click on the lines and platforms to learn more.

We know that every deep leak affects Corals, Whales, Birds and other Wildlife--so it's...

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - 12:26pm
Atchafalaya Swamp Cypress Tupelo

Here at GRN, we have some pretty amazing friends. Last month, one of our friends, Dean Wilson of Atchafalaya Baskinkeeper, took us on a boat trip through the Atchafalaya Swamp. The Atchafalaya is beautiful, and we couldn’t have asked for a sunnier day to enjoy all the swamp has to offer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - 11:37am
City of Stennis Wetland Restoration
Chrissy Schuengel and Andrew inspect the back-filled and replanted canal

Chrissy Schuengel lived on Bayou LaCroix road in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi for more than twenty years and had never seen her back yard flood severely during normal rainfall. That changed in 2007 when Hancock County Development LLC began cutting drainage canals through land north of her property line and interfering with the natural drainage patterns on the adjoining forested wetlands. Without any permits, the development company began transforming a wet pine savanna by cutting canals and ditches, aimed to drain and develop parcels for the “City of Stennis” - a mixed residential and office project.

After these drainage alterations, ordinary rainfall events now produced a wall of water, inundating yards and pastures in Chrissy’s rural community. Chrissy asked for help from Gulf Restoration Network regarding the unpermitted wetland destruction. In 2007, the Corps of Engineers ordered the developers to stop digging and Gulf Restoration Network partnered with Tulane Environmental Law...

Thursday, June 2, 2016 - 10:27am

The oil and gas industry is responsible for significant damage to Louisiana’s coast and wetlands. Damage from industry exploration and production has caused ongoing extreme wetland loss in Louisiana, toxic oil disasters and, of course, more frequent storms and sea level rise.

Gulf Restoration Network is standing with our partners at Louisiana Environmental Action Network to call for accountability from the oil and gas industry – join us!

Despite public outcry, the oil and gas industry continues to fight against taking responsibility for the damage it has caused to Louisiana’s coast and wetlands. Now, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East, Plaquemines Parish, Jefferson Parish and Cameron Parish have filed lawsuits to force oil and gas companies to fix the damage they caused to our coasts.

Take action now to hold the oil and gas industry accountable!

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