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.

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Plaquemines Parish

Plaquemines Parish officials are partnering with the Army Corps of Engineers on a new coastal dredging initiative.

The plan is to use sediment dredged from the Mississippi River shipping channel to create 300 to 600 acres of marsh habitat. This will help create a natural buffer against storm surge.

Colonel Rick Hansen is commander of the New Orleans District office of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Michel Varisco

New Orleans native and local fine arts photographer Michel Varisco developed a curiosity about the Gulf Coast region at a young age. With a mother who is a former biochemist, and engineer dad, she started learning on family road trips. Her dad would explain the Bonnet Carré Spillway, or point out dead trees while driving down LA1 to Grande Isle. 

Top academics and practitioners in the field of environmental restoration are in New Orleans this week, meeting as part of the 2014 Conference of Ecological and Ecosystem Restoration.

Experts will be sharing coastal restoration examples from the Gulf of Mexico to the Persian Gulf, from Southeast Asia's Mekong Delta to the Mississippi Delta.

Hey Gang! This week, Harry Shearer plays Kiss This!, a song for rich rock stars. He also looks at this week's environmental news, with What the Frack?, News of Inspectors General, News of Secrets, News of the Atom, and The Apologies of the Week, and more.

Laine Kaplan-Levenson / WWNO

South Louisiana’s Terrebonne Parish has low unemployment — there are lots of jobs in offshore services. So many that there could be a shortage of locals with the skills needed. The Working Coast summer camp in Houma teaches kids about the big industries in their area, and aims to get them excited about those career paths.

About 30 kids hang their fishing poles over a small bridge outside the Water Life Museum in Houma, Louisiana. They’re enjoying their last day at the Working Coast Camp.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

The face of coastal erosion in Louisiana is often defined by the most visibly threatened communities. Towns that are literally trying to determine how long they have before they might have to move. And while there’s few people calling on New Orleans residents to start making Plan B’s, some local leaders are trying to get their constituents to be more aware. 

Ron Knight / Flickr

The 2010 BP Oil Spill ruined the Cat Island bird sanctuary, a pelican nesting site. Plaquemines Parish got initial funds to restore the island, but has failed to raise the rest needed. Now, the project leader is starting restoration anyway.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

This spring a state committee approved $477 million for coastal protection and restoration. When you throw in federal dollars, and private funding as well, fixing Louisiana's coast is becoming big business.

Here are some of the people who stand to benefit.

Deep in St. Bernard Parish’s Lake Athanasio, a construction crew is hard at work. Ben Leblanc is standing on a floating barge, overseeing his troops who are knee deep in marsh, battling enormous horse flies.

Laine Kaplan-Levenson / WWNO

A group of environmentalists are walking 100 miles from Grand Isle to Baton Rouge, along Louisiana Highway 1. They’re protesting Governor Jindal’s signing of Senate Bill 469, which blocked a New Orleans levee board lawsuit against oil and gas companies.

The members hail from around Louisiana. They want Gulf residents to be more aware of decisions made in Baton Rouge that impact their coastal communities.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

A consortium of environmental and industry stakeholders are making concrete reefs on the Gulf Coast in an attempt to create new oyster habitats. The Lake Athanasio project covers a half a mile of St. Bernard Parish coastline, and seeks to satisfy coastal restoration and commercial interests by giving oysters a sustainable habitat to mature.

Tyler Ortego developed the engineering concept behind the artificial reefs.

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