Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

Friday, July 31, 2015 - 1:07pm

Don't Flood North GulfportFor decades, neighborhoods along Turkey Creek in North Gulfport, Mississippi have suffered the consequences of unchecked and irresponsible development. Now, the City of Gulfport and Ward Investments Company are trying to expand development by filling 432-acres of wetland - threatening nearby communities, sacrificing flood protection and risking water quality.

The well-being of these historically low-income, African-American communities should not be sacrificed for to create more commercial and retail space. Now is your chance to act – tell the Mayor of Gulfport and the Mobile Corps of Engineers not to flood North Gulfport. The comment period closes on Monday, so they need to hear your voice today!

Wetlands in this flat landscape are crucial for flood protection, absorbing and storing water each time it rains – from summer showers to driving hurricane squalls; they also buffer storm surge...

Friday, July 31, 2015 - 11:41am
R/V Pelican

The annual Dead Zone research cruise aboard the R/V Pelican started on Tuesday. So far it seems like they are seeing relatively calm seas and predictions of another large Dead Zone. We very well might see a large Dead Zone, as the Mississippi River is at record levels, which means tons of Dead Zone-causing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution flowing into the Gulf.

If you want to keep track of what the researchers are finding, you can follow their daily log and other information at There you can get updates regarding Gulf oxygen levels (they are already finding low oxygen), wildlife sightings, and even some haikus! Here is one from their daily log:  

Looming oil platform
Hypoxia awaits us
C6C arrived

Good luck and safe travels to all those aboard the R/V Pelican.


Matt is GRN’s Senior Policy Director

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - 12:25pm
Helen Rose marks maps in the summer canvass office in 2009. Photo by Grace Morris.

I have worked at Gulf Restoration Network on and off since 2008. Having spent most of my early career immersed in this remarkable organization, it is bittersweet for me and my colleagues to announce that I am leaving GRN. I am thrilled to go work for the National Wildlife Federation on the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Campaign. I am sad to leave GRN and my work in Mississippi. This transition has me thinking a lot about my first days at GRN, seven years ago.

It was a sticky New Orleans summer day and after a few short hours of training I was going out on my own to knock on doors, explain coastal wetland loss to complete strangers and give them the opportunity to support GRN’s work to restore coastal Louisiana. That was the day I learned that I could make a difference just by talking with people about...

Monday, July 27, 2015 - 2:08pm

Trading in Bienvenue for Howdy is both bittersweet and exciting as I transition from the GRN headquarter office in New Orleans to begin a new chapter and open our Texas Office in Austin.

As a Texas native, born and raised in Houston, I’m looking forward to furthering our engagement across the expansive Texas Coast. I have fond memories of swimming in the Gulf waters at the beaches from Galveston to South Padre, as well as exploring the bayous surrounding Houston, and enjoying the vast watersheds that feed into the Gulf of Mexico. However, New Orleans will always be a heart home. Having lived in New Orleans since 2008 when I was first hired by the Sierra Club to launch the Louisiana Beyond Coal Campaign, this extraordinary city and state have helped me lay the foundation to continue to work for the communities and environment we call home. I’m delighted that I’m able to continue working with...

Monday, July 27, 2015 - 3:53am

Since the recent BP announcement, coastal parishes in Louisiana have begun to settle their claims and plan to restore their shorelines. Although the scale of restoration needed in Louisiana's wetlands is very large, Parishes can and do make all the difference, especially when it comes to providing access and education to some of the the newest land in North America.

But how can we know that Parish (or any, for that matter) restoration projects are working? Public Lab shows us one way. 

This past month, as part of EPA's urban waters program, Public Lab organized several events to train new balloon pilots in the art and science of DIY aerial mapping. One of the sites was local favorite Wetland Watchers Park in St Charles Parish, just north and lakeward of NORCO.

You can read all about the project by reviewing...

Monday, July 27, 2015 - 2:22am

Bogue Chitto  GRN

It's summertime in Louisiana, which means nothing but swimming and fishing can take the heat away. Families across the state flee to the protected rivers of the Florida parishes for some respite.  Most are unaware that things are about to get hotter. 

Of all the companies in the southern part of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, the one that fails to be discouraged by the low oil prices is Goodrich. Perhaps its recent unit purchases from Devon need to be paid off. Although its stock prices are a fraction of what it could be, and market analysts proclaim that the Tuscaloosa won't be profitable until oil gets closer to $100, the company is fracking in the extreme south and eastern end of what state geologists and private consultants consider the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale. This area spans a number of Pontchartrain watersheds, including the Bogue...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 11:12am

On July 13th, GRN flew another flight coordinated by Southwings over the Helis Wildcat well next to Lakeshore High School; and what we saw was disturbing. While we haven't confirmed it, it looks like Helis is mixing drilling fluids before completing the berm that would protect Cane Bayou from spills of toxic drilling mud. 

Time is money in the oilfield, and when oil prices are low, corners are cut. Landowner fees are slashed, environmental regulations and safeguards are ignored. When the finance capital runs out, companies cut and run from their duties to the land. That's why it would be both predictable and distressing that a development in defiance of the Parish and the Courts is proceeding without following its own rules. 

There are many complications with conducting drilling operations in a wetland, which is why GRN opposes this wildcat well. There is so much oil...

Monday, July 20, 2015 - 10:21am

The Louisiana Black Bear, a species currently under protection, is at risk of removal from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species list.

The bear has been listed as a protected species since 1992. In that time, populations have been studied, and in some cases, have even grown. However, the species still faces threats of human-induced mortality from cars, trucks and illegal hunting.  In order to ensure the survival of the Louisiana Black Bear, the USFWS must keep the bear on the Endangered Species list.  

Tell USFWS that the Louisiana Black Bear must be protected - take action now.

Please take a moment to add your own thoughts or edits. Personalized letters will have greater impact.

In the original listing document and in the Recovery Plan, habitat loss was cited as the primary cause of the bear’s decline....

Monday, July 6, 2015 - 1:22pm
Green sea turtle hatchling
Green sea turtle hatchling entering the surf at Padre Island National Seashore. Photo credit: NPS

Many Americans have never heard of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), despite the fact that it has enriched their lives for 50 years. The LWCF has been the main legislative vehicle for protection of public lands and waters, funding literally thousands of projects across the country. The Gulf Coast provides a vivid example of the benefits that the LWCF has delivered for America since its passage by Congress in 1964.

The network of National Wildlife Refuges across Gulf Coast states that have been created and/or improved by the LWCF is impressive: six in Alabama, fifteen in Florida, twelve in Louisiana, three in Mississippi, and nine in Texas. These include some critically important coastal refuges: Grand Bay in Alabama and Mississippi, St. Johns and St. Marks in Florida, Bayou Sauvage in Louisiana, and Aransas in Texas.

The LWCF also helped create the jewels of the National Seashore system located...

Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 12:47pm
oil clean up june 2010

Five years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana, claiming eleven lives and causing devastating harm to Gulf Coast’s communities and ecosystem. Today, BP, the Gulf States and the Department of Justice reached a settlement agreement on the fines associated with their Clean Water Act penalties and the Natural Resources Damage Assessment.

“The needs of the Gulf are urgent and by settling this case we avoid years or even decades of legal appeals,” said Cynthia Sarthou, Executive Director with Gulf Restoration Network. “Although $18.7 billion is a significant sum, we have serious concerns about how much of this money is actually going to be allocated towards restoring the Gulf’s environment and impacted communities. The funds from this settlement provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to repair the Gulf in the wake of the BP disaster and make our coasts and communities stronger and more resilient for future generations....