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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CPRA

The state’s proposed sediment diversions could inject billions of dollars into the regional economy, according to a new study sponsored by an environmental group.

If built, the sediment diversions would funnel sediment-laden Mississippi River water into coastal wetlands to rebuild land. Both are currently in the design phase and have not yet received the necessary permits to start construction.

Travis Lux / WWNO

River parish residents are once again protesting the proliferation of petrochemical plants along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Advocates with several organizations, including the Coalition Against Death Alley, RISE St. James, The Concerned Citizens of St. John, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Justice and Beyond, 350 New Orleans and others will kick off a two-week march tonight in New Orleans.

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico saw its biggest drop in more than a decade due to the production shutdown ahead of Hurricane Barry earlier this summer, but most consumers likely didn't notice a difference at the gas pump.

As Hurricane Barry approached the Louisiana coast in July, companies evacuated workers and temporarily shut down many of their oil and gas platforms in the Gulf.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Louisiana alligators were once on the brink of extinction. Today, there are more than ever on the coast. Hunting alligator is a way of life for thousands of Louisianans. But it’s becoming less profitable, as foreign imports flood the market and drive down prices. Fewer hunters are heading out to the swamps each fall.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Seven parishes in coastal Louisiana have sued oil and gas companies to restore the coast. The suits say that nearly a hundred companies carved canals through the marshes over the years, and those canals worsened coastal land loss and made parishes more vulnerable to storms. Now, in the first settlement of its kind, one of those oil companies is settling.

To learn more about the case and its implications for the other suits, reporter Tegan Wendland talked with Christopher Dalbom, senior researcher at the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy.

GNOF

As climate change brings more extreme temperatures, bigger storms and heavier rainfall, people of all backgrounds are affected. But research has shown that low-income people and people of color are disproportionately impacted. They often live in low-lying areas that flood more or in urban neighborhoods that become “heat islands." They often fall through the cracks when it comes to government disaster assistance.

On Monday city officials released a new plan to try to address those inequities. It’s a collaboration with the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice.

Tegan Wendland talked with Ramsey Green, Deputy CAO of Infrastructure and Chief Resilience Officer for the City of New Orleans, about what the plan entails.

IPCC

A new report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says sea levels are rising twice as fast as they used to. They’re also warming up and losing oxygen, meaning climate change will increasingly impact everything from coastal flooding to hurricanes to the number of fish in the sea.

According to the report, about 680 million people (10% of the global population) live in coastal regions less than 30 feet above sea level, and face increasing risks caused by sea level rise, storm intensification, and a host of other issues. Large swaths of coastal Louisiana and the Gulf Coast fall squarely into that category.

To better understand what the report suggests about the future of the Gulf Coast, WWNO’s Travis Lux spoke with Dr. Lisa Levin, an oceanographer at UC San Diego and one of the authors of the report.

nrdc.org

After big floods like those in 2016 that inundated many homes in the Baton Rouge-area and beyond, sometimes a home buyout is the right choice. People whose homes have flooded multiple times can get money from the federal government to relocate to safer ground. But a new report from an environmental advocacy group finds that those buyouts can take a long time.

americanqueensteamboatcompany.com

Those calliope-playing Mississippi riverboats will soon be carrying more than passengers. Scientists are preparing to attach monitors to some boats in an effort to gather more data on the river's water quality.

Jim Bowen / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Chinese company Wanhua recently informed St. James Parish officials that it was withdrawing its application to build a chemical plant in the parish. The plant had faced vocal opposition and legal action from some residents and environmental groups, but the trade war with China may also have played a part in the company’s decision.

The Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is loaded with industry. Refinery stacks and storage tanks stand tall on the horizon, their contiguous line interrupted by sugarcane fields, ornate plantations, and quiet neighborhoods.

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