Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

Friday, January 27, 2017 - 12:46pm

Bayou BridgeThis week, the Trump administration issued orders to fast-track the construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and Dakota Access oil pipeline.

For years, we have resisted these and other pipelines - including the Bayou Bridge pipeline right here in Louisiana. 

Trump’s new order won’t stop our movements. The people of this country are saying loud and clear that our communities, waters and livelihoods are more important than corporate profits. Click here to say “No” to the Bayou Bridge pipeline!
 
The Bayou Bridge pipeline, which is backed by the same company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, would snake across 11 parishes, destroying flood-buffering wetlands and threatening drinking water sources for hundreds of thousands of people. Louisiana can’t afford another pipeline cutting through our wetlands and we can’t afford...

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - 1:09pm
Pascagoula Drought Resiliency Project Scoping Meeting
Big Cedar Creek Lakes Project Meeting, Lucedale, Mississippi Jan 24 2017

On Tuesday January 24th in Lucedale, Mississippi, the Mobile District Corps of Engineers and consulting company AECOM hosted a scoping meeting for the Pascagoula River Drought Resiliency Project Environmental Impact Statement. The Mobile Corps District’s Deputy Commander, Col. Landon Ramey spoke to the crowd of 200 about what the Corps needed from the attendees. He invited written and recorded comments that helped identify the scope of issues their work should cover, and gave a very general overview of the process and timeline for creating a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). It is likely a two or three year process. Dozens in the crowd wore “No Fake Lake” stickers, signifying their opposition.


The project would build a pair of lakes on Pascagoula River tributaries Big Cedar Creek and Little Cedar Creek in southern George County. The lakes would be for recreational use, presumably managed by the Pat Harrison Waterway District...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 12:59pm

baleen whaleDid you know that the Gulf of Mexico is home to a great baleen whale – the critically endangered Gulf Brydes whale – that can grow to the size of tractor trailer? These whales are an amazing sight to see. Sadly their population has shrunk to fewer than 100 individuals, most of which reside in an area off the coast of Florida and Alabama known as the DeSoto Canyon.

Right now, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), is considering protecting these majestic creatures. Tell NMFS to protect this magnificent whale before it is too late!

This Thursday, the National Marine Fisheries Service is hosting a public hearing to decide the future of the Gulf's great baleen whale - take action now and tell them to protect this precious whale.

Gulf Bryde’s whales were hit hard by oil from...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 11:28am
Lake George Project Map
Lakes on Big Cedar Creek in Geroge County Mississippi

The Pascagoula River is Mississippi’s ecological jewel. Most of the river’s main tributaries are contained within state borders, and its health reflects the health of the streams that flow through the state’s southeastern quarter. It was ranked with other rivers in the northern hemisphere on their degree of channel and flow alteration by the journal, “Science” in a 1994 article: “Fragmentation and Flow Regulation of River Systems in the Northern Third of the World”. The article produced the stunning statistic that the Pascagoula is only river of its size class in the U.S. (not counting Alaska) without a dam on its main channel.  Among all the large rivers in the lower 48 states, the Pascagoula stands alone.


 However, plans for creating dams on Big Cedar Creek to form two recreational lakes are currently in an Army Corps of Engineers scoping process. A meeting in Lucedale Mississippi on January 24th...

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 1:52pm
Mr. Local Guy

This morning I was remembering a moment about 5-6 years ago, not that long after we opened Carmo; a diner who was in the lunch line making what I thought was a surprising comment. I recall that I’d written on the menu about the fact that we were using local seafood, that there were local veggies on the salad, along with a note about the biodegradable food containers. What I found surprising was as the man approached the register, he pointed to the comments on the menu and said, “you know, I don’t care, most people really don’t care about this, you should save your money.” I was so taken aback at the time, that I have to say that I don’t really remember exactly how I responded, but I think I bumbled out a version of “I care.”  The man happened to be one of our regulars who I...

Monday, November 21, 2016 - 12:25pm
Bayou la Loutre MRGO and Biloxi Marshes
The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (NW to SE) cuts across Bayou la Loutre near Hopedale La., in St. Bernard Parish. Biloxi Marshes lie east. of Lake Borgne. From NOAA naviagation chart: New Orleans to Venice dated Aug. 1985.

The Pearl River’s flow of fresh water moderates salinities in tidal waters that nourish the Hancock County Marshes in Mississippi and the Biloxi Marshes of Louisiana. The Biloxi Marsh is that big chunk of St. Bernard Parish that sticks up to the north, lying due south of Waveland, Mississippi. Bayou Biloxi runs through part of this critically important marsh.  It is this finger of Southeast Louisiana that is the main buffer for storm surges from the east and southeast. It is a line of defense that benefits both states.

The Mississippi River created the St. Bernard Delta, its easternmost lobe, between 2000 and 4000 years ago. Manmade River levees block Mississippi River sediment from this part of St. Bernard Parish. It was the yearly flooding of the big river that built this area and much of southeast Louisiana. The Corps of Engineers built diversion projects at Violet and Caernarvon to...

Monday, November 21, 2016 - 12:00pm

Perhaps no environmental phenomenon is as critical to the future of the Louisiana Gulf coast as sea level rise and the disappearance of our coastal marshes. A warming climate, a sinking coast and decades of unchecked assaults are driving the loss of coastal wetlands at unimaginable rates (almost 30 sq miles per year), a staggering reality for those who make their living here. The magnitude of forces driving wetland loss seems so far beyond human ability to control that we can be paralyzed into inaction. So it was with considerable enthusiasm that two weeks ago I joined GRN staff and donors for a drive down to Plaquemines Parish to explore a 10 year-old marsh reclamation project.

We headed downriver to Buras to see the results of a project established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA). In Buras, we...

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 10:25am
Decades of Delay Report
Click image to view report

New Report Reveals Most States Failing to Manage Nitrogen & Phosphorus Pollution

The Mississippi River Collaborative (MRC) today released a report that implores the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take specific actions to regulate excess nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in state waters along the Mississippi River because those 10 states haven’t achieved any significant pollution reductions on their own.

MRC, a partnership of 13 environmental and legal groups, authored the report–entitled “Decades of Delay”–to assess state-level progress to reduce the pollution that threatens drinking water supplies for millions of Americans and causes so-called dead zones that cannot support aquatic life. 

“The results of the EPA’s hands-off approach with the Mississippi River basin states are massive algae blooms and nitrate contamination that make our drinking water unsafe and render lakes and rivers unfit for recreation,” said Kris Sigford, Water Quality Director at the Minnesota Center for...

Thursday, November 3, 2016 - 11:28am

GRN crew with Breton Sound in our booth at Voodoo.

We had a blast this Halloween weekend hanging out in New Orleans’ City Park for the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience! This was GRN’s 10th year as a non-profit partner of the festival, and we were focused on talking to the hundreds of thousands of festivalgoers and many musicians playing the fest about how they can help defend the music and defend the coast.

The Gulf is facing sea level rise, coastal wetland loss and ongoing environmental disasters fueled by the oil and gas industry. Oil and gas must pay for its damages and now is the time for our region to transition away from destructive industry and to a clean energy economy.

The good news is that the people at Voodoo, including many artist playing the fest, were ready to join...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 3:55pm
Lower Pearl River from airplane
Lower Pearl River by Bonny Schumaker, On Wings of Care

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is the omnibus Congressional bill that funds the Army Corps of Engineers in their work on the nation’s waterways. A 2016 version of WRDA is moving through Congress now and has passed the U.S. Senate.

Two sections of the Act pertain to projects on the Pearl River in Louisiana and Mississippi. One is good; the other is not so good.

Section 5002 of WRDA describes a good restoration project in Louisiana that would de-authorize and eventually remove old, unused navigational locks meant for barge traffic. The project would cede the control of the structures and property to the State of Louisiana. The negotiation of this solution has taken many years. This project would allow Louisiana to remove structures that no longer work, making the river less fragmented to improve fish migration and make things easier for recreational boaters. The Pearl River’s threatened...

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