Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 11:51am

Isle de Jean CharlesLouisiana has a new draft of the 2017 Coastal Master Plan. The 2017 plan is focused on improving the ability of Louisiana’s coastal communities to face rising seas and increasing storms. The Master Plan proposes a combination of restoration projects, levees or other structural projects and a “nonstructural” (flood risk reduction) approaches to protect our coastal communities as we face continuing wetlands loss, rising seas, and increasing storms.  

However, many hurricane seasons will come and go before the Master Plan’s restoration, levee and other structural projects are completed. In the meantime, the state must prioritize and fund flood risk reduction programs, such as elevating homes and flood-proofing buildings, in our state’s most at-risk communities.   

Gulf Restoration Network, in coalition with the Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing (BISCO), Coastal Communities Consulting, Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), Grand Bayou Village Tribe, Oxfam...

Monday, March 13, 2017 - 1:36pm

Sand Banks of the Atchafalaya Basin

Why is sand needed to restore the coast spent filling the Atchafalaya Basin floodway?

Two weeks ago, GRN went out with Jody Meche of Crawfish Producers West to see how the crawfish-producing lakes of the Atchafalaya Basin have become hills. Instead of  muddy bayous, thick with trees, grit and sand chewed our prop in the shallow waters of Bayou Bristow and Bayou Brown, in the Bayou DesGlaises management area. In some places, feet of sand have filled in the basin relatively quickly. Crawfish traps lie buried under feet of new fill. 


Cypress grove of Bayou Des Glaises
Cypress Grove of Bayou Bristow (note: boat)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filled Cypress Grove of Tin Can Lake, east of Billy Little's Lake (note: walkable)

Sand Banks...

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 2:45pm

Congressman Steven Palazzo of Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District caused great alarm among his constituents when he co-sponsored a bill to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Mississippi’s Fourth District is in a low-lying coastal area.  Wetlands and the riparian areas along the Mississippi coasts’ many estuaries provide critical storm protection to residents.  Irresponsible development threatens these wetlands. Mississippi’s failing sewerage systems leads to constantly closed beaches.  Shrimp, oyster and fish populations are in serious decline.  Dolphin and turtle mortality is at historic levels.  

EPA diver
EPA diver sampling Tippo Bayou near Philipp, MS.
Photo Credit: USEPA

The management of storm water runoff is poorly enforced.

Mississippi’s coast is the main driver of our state’s economy. We need clean, healthy water for thriving tourism and fishing industries. Congressman Palazzo’s support of a bill to eliminate the EPA is bad for Mississippi.

Thankfully, it seems as though...

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 4:04pm
Florida Capitol

This guest blog was originally published by Rethink Energy Florida on their blog. Check out their site here


Florida’s 2017 Legislative Session begins March 7th at noon, and we are feeling quite optimistic about it! ReThink Energy Florida is better-prepared than ever to see our legislative agenda move, especially on the important issue of fracking in the State of Florida.

Currently, good fracking-ban bills have been filed in both the House and the Senate. State Senator Dana Young (R-Tampa) has filed SB 442 relating to Advanced Well Stimulation Treatment, and State Representative Mike Miller (R-Orlando) has filed an identical bill in the House, HB 451.

We think it is especially noteworthy that the Sponsors and Co-sponsors of these bills represent a strongly bipartisan coalition of legislators. Clean water is not a partisan issue. We applaud these legislators who were willing to reach across the aisle and present concise and...

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 4:03pm

Guest Blogger Patti Dunn is the founder of Tchoup Industries, a New Orleans company that hand-makes backpacks and bags with local and reused materials.

There are always difficult decisions to make in Louisiana when big oil money and jobs directly conflict with our local efforts to slow down land loss and preserve natural habitats. Most of us would love to have our cake and eat it too, which would be a lot easier if oil companies tapping into our gulf could commit to holding up their end of the bargain.

"No where on Earth is there such a living landscape, where 100 acres of new land emerges from the sea. It's this dynamism that makes the River Delta so fertile, and the Gulf so biodiverse. But we have lost so much because companies refuse to clean up their mess, and our government refuses to uphold the law."  
- Scott Eustis, coastal wetland...

Monday, February 27, 2017 - 3:56pm
One Lake Project - Flow and Nutrient Pollution Problems
"One Lake" project on Pearl River in Jackson, Ms.

In Mississippi alone, there are 114 discharge permits along the Pearl River from Hinds County downstream to Pearl River County closer to the river’s mouth. The Pearl is the Mississippi-Louisiana boundary in its lower reaches, and Louisiana manages a number of permits on its side of the Pearl River as well.  In Mississippi, permits required by the Clean Water Act, are granted by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to city sewage treatment  plants, schools, housing subdivisions , chicken processors, slaughter houses, trailer parks, industrial parks and day care centers, to name a few. Each single discharger must treat its waste to certain standards before the effluent, mixed with water, can be returned to the Pearl or one of its tributaries. The largest permit holders such as city sewage plants may return 2-4 million gallons per day to the river, the smaller nursing homes or child care centers may...

Friday, February 24, 2017 - 12:57pm

Nearly half of our funding at GRN comes from from individuals like you. This is a big deal for two reasons:

1. It allows GRN the freedom to work on new, pressing issues as they arise
2. Grassroots fundraising like this has the power to build movements

GRN has members from all over the world, but most of our members in the Gulf South first hear about us through our outreach team. That's actually how I first heard about GRN! I joined the team in 2009 as a canvasser, talking to people on their doorstep about issues that effected their neighborhood, city and our Gulf. It was a long, hot summer pounding the pavement, but I waked away with skills that prepared me to become the Development Director here at GRN.

This spring, join the team! We are looking for dedicated individuals who enjoy talking to people about...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 12:19pm

Come with us to Ship Island! We're sailing on March 19th and we want you on board.

Our boat party is the best way to get to the Island: Open bar, food and maybe a dolphin sighting on the boat ride over, all while raising money for Gulf Restoration Network!

Once you're on the island, take a guided tour, explore Fort Massachusetts or enjoy the white sandy beach of this national park. It's a day for the whole family, we want kids to see this beautiful place too.

Join us on Sunday, March 19th
1-6pm
Ship Island Excursions
Gulfport, Mississippi

If you can't make it to the island, join our afterparty bonfire at Ken Combs Pier from 6-9pm.

Bring friends and family - the price drops with each ticket you purchase!...

Friday, February 17, 2017 - 2:51pm
 
A recent editorial on an Energy Transfer Partners pipeline spoke to the benefits of the large crude oil export pipeline. These benefits are advertisements. What we need are solid promises written into a contract with the public in an Environmental Impact Statement. Pipeline advocates have ignored the cost to Louisiana--our economy and our land. Our wetlands and waters are much more valuable than the company has let on. Louisiana wetlands provide billions in ecological services like flood protection every year.

In Louisiana's coastal master plan, wetland forest is about $115,000 per acre to replace. This pipeline's damages are about $69 Million in trees alone. That's before accounting for flood damages. What will be the impact to drainage of removing and culverting many streams in Jefferson Davis, Acadia, and Lafayette Parishes? What will be the added cost to the public for absorbing this new

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Friday, February 17, 2017 - 2:41pm
The Beauty of the Atchafalaya Basin

Three permitting agencies have held two public hearings about one Bayou Bridge. January’s joint Army Corps and LDEQ hearing hosted over four hundred concerned citizens, for five and a half hours. Last week’s LDNR hearing lasted six! Now these agencies must deny Bayou Bridge’s water and wetland permits.

The crude oil pipeline has no place in coastal Louisiana. No public need exists for the pipe. The oil is for export and profit. Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco, and Phillips 66 know this.

Despite continual claims from pipeline supporters about pipeline safety, reality persists. Just a day after LDNR’s hearing, a Phillips 66 pipeline in Paradis exploded during routine maintenance. Josh Helms of Thibodaux is presumed dead.

We also learned this past week about a neglected oil spill in the Atchafalaya Basin. Though the incident occurred in August, the operating company didn’t follow proper response protocol. Roughly half a...

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