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  • 6 years after the oil disaster: Coastal restoration in action | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Diversions Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion Restore the Coast Science Science and Engineering Special Team SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife 6 years after the oil disaster Coastal restoration in action April 19 2016 Posted by Emily McCalla in BP Oil Disaster coastal restoration Restoration Projects By Estelle Robichaux Restoration Project Analyst Environmental Defense Fund Today marks the 6 th anniversary of the BP oil disaster an event that changed not only the landscape and economies of the Gulf Coast but also the relationship that many residents have with their surrounding environment In Louisiana of course this devastating event only exacerbated our ongoing land loss crisis by killing wetland plants and speeding up erosion as well as damaging communities that had only just begun recovering from the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina five years earlier We can still plainly see some impacts from this disaster such as the complete erosion of Cat Island in Barataria Bay La or the less obvious ongoing ecological effects like a recent study linking increased juvenile dolphin mortalities to the spill But with the recently approved BP settlement and the finalized Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration RESTORE Council Initial Funded Priorities List there is more hope than ever before Barrier islands Louisiana s first line of defense Here in coastal Louisiana the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA has been working since Day 1 to restore some of the areas hardest hit by the oil spill The barrier islands and in the salt marshes of Barataria Bay experienced some of the highest concentrations of oiling during the spill so this is where a lot of the early restoration funding has been focused Restoration timeline of completed and future priority projects Even before money from Transocean and BP was available CPRA used other funding like from the Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act CWPPRA to complete different parts of the Barataria Pass to Sandy Point Barrier Island Restoration Project one of our campaign s priority projects East Grand Terre which we visited last year was first of the four islands restored between late 2010 and early 2014 in this important barrier island chain Two other projects at Chaland Headland and Bay Joe Wise had been completed before the oil spill Now that some of the funds from the oil spill settlements can be spent active restoration of two more barrier islands has begun Both Shell Island West and Chenier Ronquille also part of the Barataria Pass to Sandy Point Barrier Island Restoration Project are being restored with Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA Early Restoration funding We expect both of these projects being co implemented by CPRA and NOAA s Habitat Restoration Team will be complete by early 2017 Completion of priority projects Once CPRA receives funding from the RESTORE Council to implement projects on the Council s Funded Priorities List the state will finalize the design and begin construction of one more barrier island in the area West Grand Terre If

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2016/04/19/6-years-after-the-oil-disaster-coastal-restoration-in-action/ (2016-05-01)
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  • 5 years later: Revisiting the areas most affected by the BP oil spill | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Estelle Robichaux Restoration Project Analyst Environmental Defense Fund This post was originally published on the EDF Voices blog April 20 marks the five year anniversary of the BP oil spill and people around the country are reflecting on the state of the Gulf how ecosystems and communities have recovered from the spill and how far they have yet to go I recently had the opportunity to spend time in coastal Louisiana visiting some of the areas most affected by the oil spill I was struck by how within a 30 mile range from Belle Pass to Cat Bay you could see so many points along the spectrum of ecosystem health from near ecosystem collapse to successful barrier island restoration Amid the ongoing environmental and economic tragedy I saw a successful model for recovery and restoration that can be adapted elsewhere in the Gulf and perhaps beyond One important missing piece is significant funding for restoration which will only be available once BP accepts full responsibility for the damage it did to this precious region Oil spill s effects visible and ongoing East Grand Terre Island a barrier island between the Gulf of Mexico and Barataria Bay some 45 miles south of New Orleans has been in the news recently because of a massive 25 000 pound BP tar mat that was discovered on the beach and had to be removed The official cleanup had wrapped up a week before our visit but even so we found tar balls and other oily material along the beach including this Tar ball on East Grand Terre Nearly five years later most but not all of the toxic elements in the oil still out in the Gulf have been broken down and dissipated But this weathered oil still poses a potential risk to the health of both humans and wildlife As distressing as the re oiling of coastal areas and continuing cleanup from the oil spill may be even more disheartening is the fate of Cat Island Cat Island also in Barataria Bay was once a lush mangrove island that served as an important and thriving bird rookery Before the oil spill the island was teeming with pelicans rosette spoonbills and least terns just to name a few Now all that remains of Cat Island are some dead mangrove stumps on a couple of shell mounds Cat Island barely exists The thick crude oil that spewed into the Gulf during the spill coated the roots of the mangroves cutting off their ability to take in oxygen The mangrove trees suffocated and died and Cat Island eroded away at an even more rapid pace But I also saw restoration success in progress Life returns to stressed barrier islands Belle Pass to Caminada Pass Barrier Island Restoration is one of four large scale barrier island headland restoration projects in Louisiana s Coastal Master Plan Once fully constructed more than 2 000 acres will have been restored along the Caminada Headland an area southwest of Barataria Bay

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2015/04/17/5-years-later-revisiting-the-areas-most-affected-by-the-bp-oil-spill/ (2016-05-01)
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  • It’s a marathon, not a sprint: Small steps in funding restoration build lasting momentum for a comprehensive vision | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    and helped pass the Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act CWPPRA sometimes called the Breaux Act The Act was one of the first attempts to support a comprehensive approach to restoring Louisiana s coastal wetlands by establishing a dependable long term funding stream for projects A new federal interagency task force made up of five federal agencies and the Louisiana state government was also created by the Act to oversee coastal restoration activities including the prioritization planning and implementation of small to medium scale projects Three years after CWPPRA was enacted in 1993 the Task Force published their Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Restoration Plan which recommended changes in management of the lower Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers The plan focused specifically on increasing the sediment and freshwater supply to coastal wetlands to reestablish natural land building processes The CWPPRA plan only has a 20 year time horizon as opposed the 50 year perspective taken in other contemporary plans published by the Louisiana Governor s Office of Coastal Activities the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources LDNR Louisiana State University or the 2012 Coastal Master Plan Despite the shorter outlook of the CWPPRA plan it relies on similar principles and strategies we see in these other plans Namely this plan calls for Shifting navigational use from the existing bird s foot delta to a new western delta in a neighboring estuary possibly Breton Sound Multiple diversions to address land loss in Barataria Basin Reactivation of old distributary channels Seasonal changes in the Atchafalaya River s flow distribution and Projects to facilitate hydrologic restoration such as Nourishing barrier island chains and Controlling tidal flows in large navigation channels Small scale tests important success Even before the passage of CWPPRA the LDNR was implementing small scale diversions by cutting crevasses into banks of the southernmost reach of the Mississippi River Between 1986 and 1993 20 crevasses were constructed with a mean discharge rate of less than 4 000 cubic feet per second cfs Despite the lower flow rates these crevasses created nearly 1 400 acres of emergent marsh during this period an impressive amount of land considering the scale of these projects The early results of these experimental projects encouraged the prioritization of sediment diversions in the CWPPRA planning process many of which have also performed well The Channel Armor Gap Crevasse for instance was constructed in 1997 in one of the most rapidly subsiding areas of the delta This crevasse created nearly 200 acres of land over 10 years and increased overall sediment elevation by more than three feet The West Bay Sediment Diversion on the other hand was constructed in 2003 and had formed little subaerial land despite the creation of two small spoil islands in the bay in 2009 Due to this lack of land building it was considered a complete failure and was in the process of being deauthorized But after the historic flood of 2011 which delivered large quantities of sediment to coastal Louisiana dry land had emerged in West

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2015/09/23/its-a-marathon-not-a-sprint-small-steps-build-lasting-momentum-for-comprehensive-vision/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Five Years After the Oil Spill, Dead Dolphins and 25,000-Pound Tar Mat Found | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Voices of the Delta Reports Restoration Projects 19 Priority Projects Diversions Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion Restore the Coast Science Science and Engineering Special Team SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife Five Years After the Oil Spill Dead Dolphins and 25 000 Pound Tar Mat Found March 18 2015 Posted by lbourg in Birds BP Oil Disaster Science Wildlife This was originally posted on the National Wildlife Federation s Wildlife Promise blog By Emily Guidry Schatzel National Wildlife Federation One day after BP released a report saying the Gulf is on the road to recovery we took a trip to one of the most impacted areas from the BP oil spill Barataria Bay Louisiana From a dead baby dolphin to devastation at a bird rookery to active clean up crews removing tons of oil from barrier islands we found a very different picture from what BP painted in its report We started the day off at Cat Island Once a vibrant barrier island covered in brown pelicans roseate spoonbills terns and gulls it was hit hard by the oil during the spill Today the island is unrecognizable The thick mangrove forests are all dead and the island is essentially a small spit of mud with the skeletal remains of vegetation hosting just a handful of birds Coastal Louisiana is already losing a football field of land every hour and studies show that the oil accelerated this erosion Cat Island 2010 and 2015 Photo NWF Next we went to East Grand Terre a nearby barrier island Roughly 20 workers were out there cleaning up oil BP confirmed this latest clean up was part of a process to remove a 25 000 pound tar mat found in late February 2015 Finding oil here is not a huge surprise two years ago a 40 000 pound tar mat was found in the same area BP cleanup March 2015 Photo NWF Even worse in that same area we also saw a mother dolphin attempting to resuscitate her dead infant She was surrounded by a group of dolphins all of them visibly in distress Such a tragic sight was difficult to witness Mama dolphin and her dead baby Photo NWF On the same day The Lens reported that two dead adult bottlenose dolphins washed up on nearby Queen Bess Island We don t know why these particular dolphins died But we do know that NOAA has determined bottlenose dolphins in this area of Barataria Bay are sick very sick They have symptoms of oil exposure unusual lung masses adrenal gland problems even teeth that are falling out Based on the study NOAA concluded that the health effects seen in the Barataria Bay dolphins are significant and likely will lead to reduced survival and ability to reproduce We also know that dolphin deaths in Louisiana remain four times higher than average And that high numbers of stillborn and premature dolphins have been found in the northern Gulf every spring since 2010

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2015/03/18/five-years-after-the-oil-spill-dead-dolphins-and-25000-pound-tar-mat-found/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Delta Dispatches | Restore the Mississippi River Delta - Part 2
    seabirds live life on the edge of the Earth and barrier islands are the key to their survival So how does the restoration of barrier islands benefit these nesting seabirds Seabirds like terns and gulls as well as some coastal nesting shorebirds like Wilson s Plovers and American Oystercatchers place their eggs on the ground although a few species like Brown Pelicans prefer low shrubs like mangroves These nesting birds are not only susceptible to mammalian predators but also the overwash of storms As islands and their dune systems erode nests are inevitably placed closer and closer to the high tide line putting them at greater risk to the overwash of even small storms Renesting can be possible but at some point becomes futile And with fewer and fewer islands available eventually space runs out and populations decline The restoration of these islands increases opportunities and space for placing nests and helps elevate nests to reduce their chances of overwashing Royal Terns Breton Island Photo USFWS Greg Thompson There is another important consideration for barrier island restoration for seabirds bigger is not necessarily better Anyone who has taken an introduction to ecology course might recall Island Biogeography Theory It suggests that the bigger the island and the closer it is to shore the more species it can support This sounds great right But those additional species can be and often are predators So for a seabird smaller islands farther from shore are better Predators like coyotes raccoons rats skunks foxes feral cats fire ants and even nutria have a harder time getting to those islands and surviving there This becomes important when thinking about barrier island restoration Although there is a clear need to build large islands that protect interior shorelines and communities this may actually serve as an ecological trap for nesting seabirds Those larger islands can support more predators and while the habitat looks perfectly suitable to a Black Skimmer Least Tern or Sandwich Tern it could also be full of predators ready to eat their eggs and chicks Least Tern Elmers Island Louisiana Photo Erik Johnson Audubon Louisiana As far as we know only the distant Chandeleur Islands and its neighbors are mostly or entirely free of coyotes and probably most other kinds of mammalian predators Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries surveys last spring documented that these islands were full of nesting seabirds although probably not in numbers like during the glory days of Curlew Island which supported tens of thousands of nesting pairs of Sandwich Terns and Royal Terns in the 1970s Clearly the commitment of restoration to Breton Island is tremendously important for the recovery of seabirds in coastal Louisiana as will be the restoration of other nearshore small predator free bay islands like Queen Bess in Barataria Bay In the next blog we ll talk more about how Audubon Louisiana works to protect birds before during and after barrier island restoration projects Leave a comment Barrier Island Restoration An Investment in Coastal LA s Future and for Nesting Seabirds Part 1 April 18 2016 Posted by Emily McCalla in Birds coastal restoration Restoration Projects Our partners at Audubon Louisiana published a series of blog posts that we are cross posting here View the original blog post here As we mark the sixth anniversary of the BP oil spill this week an event that significantly and negatively impacted Louisiana s already disappearing barrier islands and the species that depend on them we will examine the status of barrier island restoration Over the coming days we ll publish a series of blog posts that detail what work has been done to restore Louisiana s barrier islands the importance of these islands to birds and humans alike as well as Audubon Louisiana s role before during and after the restoration process to monitor and improve bird health on these islands and elsewhere Part 1 Louisiana Barrier Islands A Coastal Restoration Success Story By Erik Johnson Director of Bird Conservation Audubon Louisiana AudubonErik As you look out into the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana s coastline are a string of barrier islands They are remnants of former deltas as the Mississippi River has flipped and flopped across the southeastern part of state over the last 6 000 years marshes were created and eventually eroded away only leaving behind these sand berms where the river and sea once met Today those ancient headland remnants continue to erode but now the river no longer serves to rebuild them Sediment that once flowed down the Mississippi River is now either dammed upstream or falls off the edge of the continental shelf at the mouth of the River Louisiana is in a fight against nature to keep its barrier islands Louisiana s barrier islands were significantly impacted by the 2010 BP oil disaster six years ago next week that enveloped them in oil at the height of nesting season and expedited their rate of disappearance Remember the 4 5 billion dollars BP had to pay in federal criminal penalties The State of Louisiana received 1 2 billion of that to use toward coastal restoration and has dedicated it to the development of river diversions to rebuild marsh as well as the restoration and reconstruction of barrier islands Many hundreds of millions of dollars from other sources like CWPPRA CIAP and NRDA to name a few also support barrier island protection and restoration The continued deterioration of Caminada headland threatens thousands of acres of wetland habitat as well as critical infrastructure The project creates 300 acres of back barrier marsh and nourishes 130 acres of emergent marsh behind the Caminada beach using material dredged from the Gulf of Mexico Photo Patrick M Quigley Gulf Coast Air Photo Since the development of the state s 2007 Master Plan Louisiana has reconstructed over 45 miles of barrier islands and for good reason Barrier islands are an important infrastructure investment in coastal Louisiana They help protect marshes and human communities from storm surges and hurricanes

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/page/2/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Media Resources | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Act Natural Resource Damage Assessment Economics Blog Media Room Media Resource Us in the News Latest Delta News Fact Sheets Press Releases Reports and Resources Videos About Who We Are What We Do Meet Our Experts Contact Upcoming Events Support Restoration Sign up Take Action Protect The Funding Volunteer Media Resource Media Resources Videos Current stories Fact sheets Press Releases Reports and Additional Resources RELATED SOURCES Media Resources Press contacts

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/mediaroom/contacts-and-resources/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Job Opening: Digital Marketing & Communications Associate | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    strategies for growing the Coalition s online audience across a variety of digital properties as well as track performance and iterate accordingly The Digital Marketing and Communications Associate will be a part of the communications team and will be charged with translating its goals online by designing and distributing web based content across the Coalition website social media email list and other digital platforms S He will help broadcast in person events meetings and hearings to a digital audience through a variety of engaging tactics as well as develop content such as videos infographics and more that educate and inform The Digital Marketing and Communications Associate will help design and implement online paid media strategies across a variety of platforms Candidate must possess a strong fluency in social media email marketing and digital content management Skills in CSS HTML experience with WordPress graphic design and video editing highly desired Essential Functions Manage content on campaign website blog and social media properties working with campaign staff to design create edit and regularly update multimedia pages on the site analyze website statistics Develop strategies for reaching new audiences on Coalition social media properties including Facebook Twitter Instagram and LinkedIn as well as identify potential emerging platforms and innovative techniques for reaching target audiences Coordinate with communications team on implementation of communications messaging and strategies across coalition online platforms Make suggestions for tailoring messaging and packaging content specifically for online audiences on different online platforms When appropriate coordinate with partner organizations online teams to execute social media campaigns and leverage larger organizational platforms when possible Spearhead implementation of site redesign working closely with senior communications staff and contractors to manage workflow and deliverables Ensure optimal user experience across coalition website and social media platforms maintaining seamless consistency with coalition strategy branding and messaging Establish quantifiable goals for Coalition online work including numbers of constituent and fan bases on social media including influencers and activist subgroups website visits and engagement activities such as online actions taken Draft and implement social media content including text photos and other graphics for sharing Identify emerging platforms and digital processes worth pursuing as part of larger online engagement strategy Attend relevant on the ground events hearings and meetings as needed to document and engage an online audience through live tweeting photo sharing videos blog posts and other means Manage Coalition blog Delta Dispatches editorial calendar including developing and updating content Maintain systems to track and evaluate performance analytics for website and social media platforms to improve content and engagement against key metrics and benchmarks Manage coalition email list This includes recommending opportunities to engage email subscribers through action alerts developing monthly e newsletters growing subscriber list and more In direct coordination with Communications committee and contractors maintain online advertising efforts placing ads and reporting on performance to ensure success of digital advertising as part of larger paid media strategy Employ optimal Search Engine Optimization SEO and Search Engine Marketing SEM practices to help drive traffic and inform decisions

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2016/03/03/job-opening-digital-marketing-communications-associate/ (2016-05-01)
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  • News for Feb. 3, 2016 | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Action Protect The Funding Volunteer Subscribe to this blog By RSS feed or email Or subscribe to a bi weekly digest of our blog posts search this blog FOLLOW COASTAL LOUISIANA ISSUES ON TWITTER Tweets by RestoreDelta CATEGORIES 2011 Mississippi River Flood 2012 Coastal Master Plan Coastal Master Plan series Army Corps of Engineers Birds BP Oil Disaster 5 Years Later Two Years Later Climate Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA coastal restoration Community Resiliency Congress Senator David Vitter Senator Mary Landrieu Economics Job Creation Wildlife tourism Economy Federal Policy Clean Water Act Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA RESTORE Act Water Resources Development Act WRDA Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force Hunting and Fishing Hurricanes Hurricane Isaac Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Rita K10 Job openings Latest News Louisiana Coastal Area LCA Whites Ditch Mardi Gras Pass Media Resources Meetings Events Mississippi River Gulf Outlet NOAA People Faces of the Delta Profiles in Resilience Staff Profiles Tributes Voices of the Delta Reports Restoration Projects 19 Priority Projects Diversions Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion Restore the Coast Science Science and Engineering Special Team SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife Latest Mississippi River Delta

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2016/02/03/latest-mississippi-river-delta-news-feb-3-2016/ (2016-05-01)
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