Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 2:04pm

Secretary Melancon, LDWF
                    Secretary Melancon, LDWF

On July 7th, 2016, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) held a public commission meeting to address current issues that the state is managing. Although they discussed a range of topics, the focus was on blue crabs and red snapper.

Biologist Jeff Marx presented the 2016 Louisiana Blue Crab stock assessment, which has shown signs of a decline in the stock, even approaching the threshold of overfishing. In response, LDWF has talked about ways to reduce the number of traps in the water, if only for a short period of time. Currently, their proposition is to close the commercial crab fishery in Louisiana waters beginning on the third Monday in February and extending for 30 consecutive days. The biggest public opposition heard during the...

Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 10:21am
Jackson Mississippi Flood Control Lake Plans Update
Concept map for flood control lake in Pearl River Channel in Jackson

On July 7th WLBT, Channel 3 in Jackson, Mississippi presented a feature about flooding on the Pearl River titled “A River Runs Through It.” The segment  ran on the 10 p.m. news as a “3 On Your Side” special report to update the currently proposed project to dredge and widen the Pearl River though part of Jackson , and install a dam  to create another in-channel lake to control flooding on the Pearl River.


Interviewed for the story were Keith Turner and Dallas Quinn. Turner is a member of the Jackson-based Watkins Eager law firm and is the attorney for the project’s sponsoring agency, the Rankin Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District (The District). Quinn represents the Pearl River Vision Foundation, the non-profit corporation that has as its sole mission the promotion of this new lake development as an economic development asset for Jackson. Both...

Monday, July 11, 2016 - 12:00am

We’re beach people. The sun, the sand, the water, the good vibes and happy people—we know we’re biased, but really, is there anything better?

This lifelong love of life by the water has made our yearly decision to partner with the Gulf Restoration Network for Aveda Earth Month an easy one. With locations in Sandestin, Orange Beach, and Pensacola Beach, we are keenly aware of the breathtaking natural beauty of the gulf—and how much is at stake if we fail to adequately protect it. And as Gulf Coast locals and small business owners, we see it as our job to do so.

Many of you all have helped in our Earth Month efforts over the years: attending Cut-a-Thons, purchasing wellness and beauty packages whose proceeds benefit GRN, and spreading the word on social media. And while every Earth Month has been exceptional in its own right, this most recent one...

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 - 5:55pm

Like so many frontline communities, Pascagoula, MS was built by generations of community members surviving and building a beautiful life despite the best efforts industry, hurricanes, flooding, government corruption and a slew of injustices attempting to wipe them out of their homes. The evening of June 27th, 2016 was no different. That night a major explosion occurred at the fracked-gas plant in Pascagoula. For this Gulf Coast community, it is something they’ve seen before. "We have had five major incidents in the last two and a half years" Barbara Weckesser, President of Cherokee Concerned Citizens.

Luckily, there were no injuries in the explosion.. Next time, the residents of Pascagoula might not be so lucky. "Now, Gulf LNG wants to add on a gas export facility" Barbara elaborated. The proposed fracked-gas export facility is close enough that it is requesting to be powered by the exact fracked-gas plant that exploded last...

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.
...

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...

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