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.

Subscribe to the Coastal Desk as a podcast:

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2. Go to the File Menu, click on Subscribe to Podcast…

3. Enter this URL: http://wwno.org/podcasts/70174/rss.xml

And that’s it! New episodes download automatically.

National Phenology Network

Spring is coming earlier, and it is bringing warmer temperatures and earlier blooming trees and flowers. The USA National Phenology Network tracks these factors and has documented an early spring across the southeast. Reporter Tegan Wendland talked with director Theresa Crimmins about so-called “false springs” and the implications for plants and animals.

Tegan Wendland

A restoration project that has been on the books for 20 years finally got funding Wednesday. The state will soon break ground on the Maurepas Swamp diversion.

Cantrell's administration held a press conference Tuesday to announce the new fleet of six hybrid trucks. The SWB has more than 100 trucks in its total fleet.
Screenshot from Cantrell's Facebook livestream

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and public officials unveiled a fleet of hybrid city vehicles Tuesday.

Flanked by officials, Cantrell stood in front of one of six new electric-hybrid Sewerage and Water Board trucks, which look like standard white Ford F-150’s with the agency’s classic yellow stripe along the side.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Native American tribes in Louisiana and Alaska are asking the United Nations for help. Tribal leaders say climate change is destroying their communities and forcing them to relocate.

Rising seas and bigger storms are threatening tribal communities all across the country. In Louisiana, several tribes live in areas along the coast that are washing away fast, due to coastal erosion, sea level rise and the erosion of canals carved by oil and gas companies.

Pattie Steib / Shutterstock

New research finds that oil and gas development in the gulf south will greatly increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers from the University of Texas looked at existing – and planned – oil, gas and petrochemical infrastructure in Louisiana and Texas.

As the country turns away from heavily-polluting coal fired power plants and towards natural gas, the region has seen huge investments in LNG production.

But the researchers found that all of the new plants and refineries will produce as much pollution as 131 coal-fired power plants.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

A new study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the federal government should spend $3.2 billion to maintain the levee system around New Orleans over the next 50 years. The study recommends raising the levees and upgrading the flood protection systems in order to match the rising sea levels and sinking land.

In the Lower Ninth Ward, news of future flood risks puts residents on high alert.

Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, 2019

Climate change will affect today’s children at every stage of their life. That’s one of the takeaways from a new study from the Lancet Countdown, a project of the medical journal The Lancet.

To talk more about the study, and what it means for the Gulf Coast, reporter Travis Lux spoke with Dr. Jeremy Hess. Hess is a professor of emergency medicine, environmental health, and global health at the University of Washington, and is one of the authors of the report.

Beardo62 / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A bill that could increase the amount of royalty money Louisiana gets from offshore oil and gas drilling advanced in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

The bill, called the Conservation of America’s Shoreline Terrain and Aquatic Life Act, or COASTAL Act, is sponsored by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La). It would reduce how much oil and gas money goes to the federal government, and increase the amount that goes to states along the Gulf of Mexico -- Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Travis Lux / WWNO

A network of advocacy organizations across the Gulf South has published regional Green New Deal policy platform that aims to build on the national policy of the same name.

The Green New Deal is a resolution in Congress that outlines several ways the country can address climate change. It emphasizes clean energy jobs, environmental justice, and transitioning away from fossil fuels. It’s a non-binding resolution -- so it would not change any laws, if passed.

For the last six months, advocacy organizations from Texas to Florida have been working on a regional version, called Gulf South for a Green New Deal.

It’s only midmorning, but shrimper Thomas Olander is already calling it quits for the day in a small bayou in St. Mary Parish, on the central Louisiana coast.

There aren’t enough shrimp out there — especially the highly sought-after jumbo shrimp that fetch the highest prices at the market.

“It's just not worth it,” Olander said, of his morning burning fuel, supplies and time.

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