green infrastructure

Travis Lux / WWNO

Two disaster-related bills proposed this week in Congress could offer relief for Louisiana communities affected by extreme weather. One would create a permanent safety net program for commercial fishers who have suffered losses due to environmental damage. Another would create a special fund meant to help cities and towns build more resiliently.

Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act of 2019

Environmental disasters can cause commercial fishers to lose money. This year, for example, Mississippi River flooding has dramatically reduced the catch of several kinds of seafood in both Mississippi and Louisiana.

Travis Lux / WWNO

Many of South Louisiana’s problems overlap with water, like urban flooding and coastal land loss. In recent years, more businesses are popping up to address those problems.

Local entrepreneurs looking to scale-up their water-related businesses competed for a chance to win $10,000 dollars Wednesday evening at an event called the Water Challenge.

 

The Water Challenge is the first of three pitch annual pitch competitions known collectively as PitchNOLA. The series is organized by Propeller, a non-profit that helps local entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses -- with a particular focus on addressing inequalities.

Butterbean/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Several Louisiana mayors are part of a group lobbying lawmakers in Washington D.C. this week to support infrastructure spending -- and with a particular focus on projects and programs aimed at addressing extreme weather events.

 

Representatives from the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI)  went to Washington to meet with congressional members and White House staff. They want lawmakers to prioritize infrastructure, and to focus on helping cities prepare for and adapt to climate change.

2018 In Review: Coastal News

Dec 27, 2018
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Environmental issues were big news in 2018 -  locally, nationally, and globally. World leaders from 195 countries gathered in Poland to discuss how to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. A major federal climate report said the U.S. is already feeling the effects of climate change - in the shape of deadly wildfires, devastating hurricanes, and record temperatures.

Travis Lux / WWNO

Several green infrastructure projects will be coming to New Orleans' most flood-prone neighborhoods thanks to an $86-thousand grant from the Institute for Sustainable Communities.

Healthy Community Services, a local nonprofit, will use the grant money to build green infrastructure projects designed to collect stormwater - like rain gardens - in the 7th Ward and Treme, two areas that flooded heavily last year.

CPRA

On Wednesday, congress passed America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which could encourage the Army Corps of Engineers to build more green infrastructure.

Infrastructure bills are fairly routine. Generally passed every couple years, they often approve lists of projects for things like river dredging or levees -- projects that the Corps builds.

New this year: a section that requires the Corps to consider “natural or nature-based” projects as alternatives if it wants to build something.

Pictured left to right: Councilman Jared Brossett, NORA Executive Director Brenda Breaux, NORA Board Chair Jim Singleton, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and Councilwoman Helena Moreno.
Travis Lux / WWNO

The city of New Orleans is launching a new program to help Gentilly residents install green infrastructure on their properties to absorb rain water.

In 2016, the city got more than $141.2 million to improve stormwater management through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s National Disaster Resilience Competition.

Travis Lux / WWNO

 

New Orleans is a city that floods. Even a small storm can leave streets impassable. City officials say they’re working on solutions, but they’re also asking citizens to help out.

All this week we’ve aired stories about how prepared the city is for the threats that climate change will bring — heavier rains, bigger storms, extreme temperatures — and there are some serious doubts. That’s why some people are taking matters into their own hands.

Michael Isaac Stein / The Lens

Scientists say climate change will bring heavier rains and more intense storms. City officials have acknowledged that New Orleans needs to rethink how it deals with rain — by reducing reliance on mechanical pumps and managing the water where it falls.

Thanks to a post-Katrina settlement with FEMA, the city has more than $2 billion to fix streets and drainage — a perfect opportunity to try some new ideas. But will it?

Travis Lux / WWNO

Major floods last summer thrust infrastructure and drainage issues into the limelight. And new Mayor LaToya Cantrell has made them a top priority for her administration. She has championed the approach to water management outlined in the city's Urban Water Plan — which emphasizes “green infrastructure” solutions like soaking up rain water instead of pumping it out. But that plan is largely unfunded.