Travis Lux

Coastal Reporter

As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

Before joining WWNO, Travis reported for Marfa Public Radio in Far West Texas, and for WRKF in Baton Rouge. He studied Anthropology and Sociology at Rhodes College and radio production at the Transom Story Workshop.

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Travis Lux / WWNO

Heavy rains in the Midwest have caused the Mississippi River to swell. To relieve pressure on local levees, the Army Corps of Engineers will begin operating the Bonnet Carre Spillway in Norco on Wednesday.

The levees near New Orleans are only built to handle water moving at 1.25 million cubic feet per second -- quick enough to fill the Superdome in about a minute, the Corps estimates. When the river gets going that fast the Corps opens the spillway, diverting some of that water into Lake Pontchartrain.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

This week on the Coastal News Roundup: officials investigate who or what might have been behind all the dead pelicans in Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes. Plus, an update on the Taylor Energy oil well that’s been leaking in the Gulf of Mexico for almost 15 years.

WWNO’s Travis Lux talks with environment reporter Tristan Baurick from Nola.com | The Times-Picayune about the week in coastal news.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The River Parishes are about to get a major new coastal protection project: 18 miles of storm surge levees between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

St. John, St. James, and St. Charles Parishes are only protected from flood waters along the Mississippi River. There are currently no levees on the swampier side of those parishes along Lake Pontchartrain.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The spending bill signed by President Trump last week will increase the amount of money for inspections of imported seafood -- a move praised by the local shrimp industry.

The United States is importing more and more shrimp from other countries, some of which is produced with antibiotics that are banned in the US. So when it’s tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s rejected.

Carmelite NGO

This week on the Coastal News Roundup: an update on a two stories -- the giant reservoir of acidic wastewater threatening to spill in St. James Parish, and the invasive plant choking up Bayou St. John.

Nola.com/Times-Picayune reporter Sara Sneath tells WWNO’s Travis Lux about the latest with those stories, and about the visit paid to the state by Pope Francis’ climatologist.

Nadje Najar / Audubon Louisiana

The chemicals used to clean up the BP oil spill may not have been as bad as previous studies suggest -- that’s one of a few themes from the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science (GOMOSES) Conference this week.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, WWNO’s Travis Lux talks with Nola.com | The Times-Picayune environment reporter Tristan Baurick about the latest in oil spill science.

Plus, Tristan tells us about his search for the elusive black rail -- a threatened bird that’s found a home in the precarious marshes of coastal Louisiana.

Travis Lux / WWNO

For the past couple weeks, a mass of green plants has been floating down Bayou St. John in New Orleans. Residents have been wondering what it is, and whether it poses any threats to the waterway.

 

To get some answers, WWNO’s Travis Lux went down to the bayou with Dr. John Lopez, coastal program director for the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.

Jonathan Henderson / VanishingEarth.org/Southwings.org

A massive reservoir of industrial wastewater is threatening to burst near the Mississippi River, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. It’s an acidic byproduct of industrial fertilizer company Mosaic Fertilizer. The company’s wastewater disposal practices have been under scrutiny for many years.

Staff writer Tom Wright from The Lens has been reporting on the issue, and talks to Travis Lux about what’s playing out upriver, and how it could impact people and the environment.

Molly Keogh / Tulane University

Louisiana’s soil is sinking much faster than previously thought -- that’s the conclusion of a new report out this week from Tulane University.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, WWNO’s Travis Lux speaks with Tulane wetlands geologist Molly Keogh, who authored the report, about what that means for sea level rise predictions in Louisiana.

Morley et al., 2018 / Pew Charitable Trusts

A report out this month says that the world’s oceans are warming much faster than expected. That’s already causing some fish species to move north, and could bring more changes to the ocean in the future.

To better understand how this will impact Gulf of Mexico fisheries like shrimp, snapper, and oysters, WWNO’s Travis Lux spoke with Dr. Rebecca Selden, a Marine Ecologist at Rutgers University.

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