Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - 10:38am

Please enjoy this a guest blog by Richard Charter, Senior Fellow with The Ocean Foundation.

Right now, the Interior Department is revisiting their policies governing the disposal of old drilling rigs and other petroleum infrastructure throughout the federal waters of our Gulf of Mexico. When an oil company signs an offshore lease contract, that includes an obligation to return the seabed to is natural state once the rig has reached the end of its economic life. Americans have every right to expect that each company will keep its promise. With thousands of rigs due for decommissioning in the next few years, we can either decide to help restore the Gulf of Mexico to its former vitality, or allow it to become a junkyard of epic proportions.

"Bring Back the Gulf" is a new book released by The Ocean Foundation and The...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 2:52pm
Sunglasses and Program from Vision 2022 Update on Lake Project
Sunglasses and Program from Vision 2022 Update on Pearl River Lake Project

The Greater Jackson Partnership gave an update on its Vision 2022 plan on Thursday September 25th.  Vision 2022 was begun in 2012 as a 10 year master plan for development in downtown Jackson.  Its centerpiece is a new lake along the urban reach of the Pearl River, but there are parts of the plan that don’t depend on a lake.  Sunglasses and a speaker program were handed out to all who registered. Apparently Jackson’s future is so bright, everyone’s going to need shades.

The first update was by Mayo Flynt, of AT&T’s state corporate office. He talked about the need for a lake on the Pearl River in Jackson as the ”game changer” that has now gotten farther along than any of the previous lake plans. I didn’t hear Mr. Flynt mention flood control as even a partial reason for building the lake, although that’s how the Corps of Engineers...

Friday, September 26, 2014 - 12:00pm

Tuesday we had another confirmation that people love seafood and value sustainability.  The Gulf Fish Forever Campaign hosted the Sustainable Seafood Luncheon 2014 at Gautreau’s Restaurant.  Captain Thien Nguyen and his crew on the Queensland provided an 80-pound yellowfin tuna that was caught on the Queensland’s GreenStick Gear. The Gulf Fish Forever Campaign has been working with Captain Thien and other longline fishermen in Louisiana to secure BP damage penalty funds to pay for transitioning to gear that does not have as much wasteful discards.  To learn more: Switching Gears to Protect the Bluefin Tuna. Bobby Nguyen explained the alternative gear pilot program and why it is important for these fishermen.

Chefs Sue Zemanick and Nick Lama of Gautreau’s prepared three amazing courses of that GreenStick-caught yellowfin:
1st course: Tuna Poke, yuzu, avocado and crispy wontons
2nd course: Olive Oil Poached Tuna nicoise salad
3rd course: Seared Tuna, baby squash, rapine and salsa verde

Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 1:17pm
Mike Tidwell is GRN's Keynote Speaker

GRN is turning 20 this year, and we want you to come celebrate with us! We are excited to invite you to our annual Defend Our Coast, Defend Our Culture fall fundraiser at Susan Spicer’s Lakeview restaurant, MONDO, to support our efforts to protect the Gulf.

This year there is a spectacular line up that you won’t want to miss! Helen Gillet will perform improv jazz on the cello along with her signature Louisiana anthem, “Atchafalaya.”  In the kitchen, MONDO owner and Chef Susan Spicer, will be accompanied by Kristen Essig of Meauxbar. Chefs Spicer and Essig will be cooking a delectable meal that will have your taste buds delighted. And finally, as keynote speaker, we have Mike Tidwell, author of Bayou FarewellJoin us to celebrate our victories for the Coast and look ahead to the next 20 years!

Sunday, October 19th

900 Harrison Ave.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 3:40pm
Step One:  Coal Export Terminals place materials in the river.  
The black smear in the brown water on the riverbank is a pile of coal and petroleum coke from United Bulk:
The black in the middle of the brown river is a pile of spilled material that has accumulated, despite the fact that United Bulk is supposed to clean up all spilled material.
Step Two: Abandon the material for the river to sweep it away.  One mile downriver, off their property, the waters that flow over the riverbank are full of coal black.
Step Three: Enter the dredge.  The State and Federal government have projects that dredge the river to pump that contaminated sand into shallow waters that used to be wetlands.  This cycling map shows
  1. where oil and gas removed the original
  2. ...
Monday, September 22, 2014 - 11:38am
Carriage ride in the French Quarter. Photo credit: Wikimedia user Sami99tr

Congratulations to GRN supporter Charisa Davis of Austin, Texas! Charisa won our 2014 Earth Month raffle, which is sponsored by our partnership with Aveda salons. The Rediscover New Orleans grand prize package includes…

$500 towards travel and lodging
A gift certificate for dinner for two at Atchafalaya Restaurant
Gift certificate for gelato at La Divina Gelateria
and a kayak trip for two from Lost Lands Environmental Tours

Charisa enjoyed the travel package on a weekend getaway over Labor Day and reported back to us: “Everything was perfect. Even the weather cooperated.”

Thank you to Aveda and all of our raffle sponsors for making this year’s drawing a success. Check out Aveda’s Earth and Community Care website if you’d like to learn more about Earth Month and their amazing program to protect clean water and support environmental stewardship.

Sarah Holtz is GRN’s Development Associate.


Friday, September 19, 2014 - 5:07pm
Photo credit: NOAA

Under the definition of “in harm’s way,” there should be a photo of the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s (pronounced BROO-dus) whale.

This forty-foot whale—cousin to blues and humpbacks, and the only great whale known to reside in the Gulf—is in desperate straits. The population numbers fewer than 50 individuals according to the government’s best estimates, and its range appears to have contracted to the baleen whale equivalent of a postage stamp: to a single underwater canyon off the Florida panhandle.

Last July, NOAA biologists published a study confirming that the Gulf Bryde’s have a unique evolutionary lineage, distinct from all others of their kind. On Thursday my colleagues and I at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petitioned the administration to add them to the endangered species list.

Clearly the whales are in need of special protection, and not simply for their small numbers. The massive industrialization...

Monday, September 15, 2014 - 4:33pm
Landowner Baucum (center) and Investigator Bowcock address Laurel Ms. Officials
Landowner Marlan Baucum (center) and Robert Bowcock (right) address Laurel Officials

Robert Bowcock visited Louisiana and Mississippi on September 9-10th doing investigations into water pollution problems. Bowcock’s consulting business, Integrated Resource Management, deals with the safety and security of drinking water systems. His investigations have supported some of Erin Brockovich’s  environmental defense work. On Tuesday, he was in St. John Parish, upriver from New Orleans. The Parish has Naegleria, a disease-causing amoeba, in its public water supply. On Wednesday, he was in Laurel, Mississippi consulting on a polluted salt water disposal well site and addressing elected officials and staff from the City of Laurel and Jones County.

In Laurel, Mr. Bowcock said that a polluted plume of ground water, originating at unpermitted waste water pits at the Petro Harvester oilfield waste disposal well site, is migrating underground and needs attention as soon as possible. The well site is the subject of a lawsuit by the Baucum family...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - 3:20pm

This articles is excerpted from Gulf Currents, GRN's printed newsletter. To read the rest of the Summer 2014 edition of Gulf Currents, click here.

Oil leaking from a submerged pipeline in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. April 11th, 2014. Photo: Jonathan Henderson, GRN. Flight provided by

Gulf Restoration Network is continuing our work to watchdog the impacts of the energy industry on the Gulf’s coastal environment.  In 2014 (as of June), GRN’s monitoring work had been featured on NPR, PBS Newshour, the Washington Post,, Bloomberg News, Al Jazeera, the Los Angeles Times, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Baton Rouge Advocate, the National Journal and numerous other media outlets. 

By June, GRN had also filed over 15 reports in 2014 with the National Response Center (NRC) for new leaks and spills discovered on monitoring trips. In fact, the US Coast Guard recently...

Friday, September 5, 2014 - 3:30pm

On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that BP’s actions leading to the 2010 drilling disaster were grossly negligent, which means that we’re one step closer to seeing billions of dollars in BP fines for the restoration of the Gulf. This is a huge victory for GRN, our allies and supporters like you, who have worked for over four years to ensure that BP be held accountable for their actions. But even as a judge finds them “reckless,” BP is trying to wiggle their way out.

Take action today to tell BP to pay for their damage to the coast.

Following the decision, BP immediately announced its plan to appeal. And its professional spin doctors are already on the job. This week, at the Society for Environmental Journalists conference, BP’s Geoff Morrell suggested that BP was being blamed for damages “conjured up by opportunistic advocacy groups.” 

We who live on...