Coastal Desk

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.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans should manage all of the city’s drainage, not just some of it. That’s one of the recommendations in a new report about how to improve drainage in the city.

After major flooding in the summer of 2017, the Louisiana legislature required New Orleans to appoint a special task force to reexamine how drainage is handled in the city. The collection of city officials, deemed the Sewerage and Water Board Task Force, researched options, held public meetings, and typed up a report full of their recommendations. That report was submitted to the state legislature on Monday.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

This week on the coastal news roundup - an update on Isle de Jean Charles.  It was big news in 2016 when the state was awarded $48 million to relocate people from the disappearing island. But the process has not been smooth; permanent relocation hasn’t happened yet, and a Native American tribe blames that on the state.

WWNO’s Tegan Wendland talked with Chantel Comeradelle, tribal secretary of Isle de Jean Charles band of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw.

CPRA

Governor John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday that he plans to put some of the state’s surplus money toward the coastal program, but first needs approval from state officials.

 

The state of Louisiana ended fiscal year 2018 with an extra $300 million. At an event on Wednesday, Edwards said he plans to dedicate $55 million of that extra cash to coastal restoration and protection, but legally can’t until state officials recognize the funds.

Kyle Plover / Cornell Lab of Ornithology

This week on the Coastal News Roundup -- how weather radar can be used to count migrating birds. Plus, the state looks to increase the size of a major (and controversial) coastal restoration project.

 

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

 

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