Coastal Desk

Southeast Louisiana is sinking under the waves faster than any coastal landscape in the world. With so much at stake for Louisiana and the nation, WWNO has made coastal news a priority.

Since mid-2014 our Coastal Desk reporting team has been producing frequent news reports and in-depth features covering coastal erosion and restoration; hurricane protection; offshore energy and other coastal businesses; wildlife and fisheries impacts; and coastal communities and culture.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and local listeners.

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Travis Lux / WWNO

The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans is getting yet another interim director, and three top officials have resigned from the utility.

The moves come just a couple of weeks before a new permanent director is scheduled to take the helm.

David Callahan -- a retired rear admiral with the Coast Guard -- will be the fourth temporary executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board in about a year. Callahan will replace Jade Brown-Russell.

Brett Duke / Nola.com | The Times-Picayune

This week on the Coastal News Roundup: a newish technology called environmental DNA, how sea level rise threatens internet infrastructure, and what we can learn from the alligator amid proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act.

Environmental reporters Sara Sneath and Joan Meiners from Nola.com | The Times-Picayune talk about the week in coastal news.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The flooding of August 5th, 2017 revealed that several pumps, and the generators that power them, were broken.

 

Most of that equipment has now been fixed, but last week, lawyers filed a class-action lawsuit against the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans over damages caused by the flood waters.

 

WWNO’s Travis Lux spoke with New Orleans Advocate reporter Jeff Adelson about the suit, and what comes next.

S&WB Interim Operations Manager Joe Sensebe says the board has made major repairs since Aug. 5, 2017.
Jess Clark / WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio

It’s been almost exactly one year since record-breaking rains flooded much of the city, and the city’s pumping and drainage system couldn’t keep up. Later it was revealed that many of the Sewerage and Water Board pumps and turbines weren’t working. Sewerage and Water Board officials say since then they've made $82 million in repairs, and today, the pumping and drainage system is in much better shape.

Coastal News Roundup: Small Dead Zone Explained

Aug 3, 2018
Nancy Rabalais / Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium

This week on the Coastal News Roundup: An update on parish lawsuits against oil and gas companies over damages to wetlands, plus, why the Gulf of Mexico dead zone was so much smaller this year.

Nancy Rabalais / Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium

Every summer, a dead zone forms in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an area with so little oxygen that marine life can’t survive, caused mostly by agricultural fertilizers that wash down the Mississippi River.

 

According to a new study from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), it’s much smaller this year. But, that might not necessarily be a sign of progress.

Enrico Strocchi / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This week on the Coastal News Roundup: sharks, the evironmental impact of feral cats, and a new study links temperature and suicide.

WWNO’s Travis Lux spoke with Joan Meiners from Nola.com/The Times-Picayune about the week in coastal news.

US Army Corps of Engineers

The Army Corps of Engineers has a system for classifying river and hurricane levees across the country. On Thursday, officials announced the final classifications for Southeast Louisiana. From Baton Rouge to New Orleans levee systems are considered “Moderate to High Risk.”

Though that may sound concerning, the Army Corps stresses that these classifications are not safety ratings. New Orleans District commander Colonel Mike Clancy says the levees themselves are in good shape.

Tristan Baurick / Nola.com | The Times-Picayune

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, we take a look at barrier islands — what they do, and why the state is creating them artificially. Plus, we explore what less sediment in the Mississippi River could mean for coastal restoration and the return of a Jean Lafitte tradition: pirogue races.

Pictured left to right: Councilman Jared Brossett, NORA Executive Director Brenda Breaux, NORA Board Chair Jim Singleton, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and Councilwoman Helena Moreno.
Travis Lux / WWNO

The city of New Orleans is launching a new program to help Gentilly residents install green infrastructure on their properties to absorb rain water.

In 2016, the city got more than $141.2 million to improve stormwater management through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s National Disaster Resilience Competition.

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