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  • Export-Driven Jobs in the Gulf Coast | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Who We Are What We Do Meet Our Experts Contact Upcoming Events Support Restoration Sign up Take Action Protect The Funding Volunteer Overview Science 10 Questions About the Mississippi River Delta Public Policy 2012 Coastal Master Plan The Natural Resource Damage Assessment Process Clean Water Act Penalties The RESTORE Act Building a Restoration Economy Tourism and Fishing Jobs Infrastructure Related Jobs Restoration Jobs Export Driven Jobs RELATED SOURCES Related Restoration Economy Restoring the Gulf Coast fact sheet PDF Datu Research Wildlife Tourism and the Gulf Coast Economy PDF Duke University report Restoring the Gulf Coast New Markets for Established Firms PDF Duke University report Restoring Gulf Oyster Reefs Opportunities for Innovation PDF Duke University report Geosynthetics Coastal Management Applications in the Gulf of Mexico PDF Mather Economics report Job Creation from Gulf Coast Wetlands Restoration PDF Export Driven Jobs Environmental Restoration Economic Restoration Tourism and fishing jobs Restoration jobs Infrastructure related jobs Export driven jobs Investing in the coast s wetlands will create opportunities for exports and jobs Firms in the Gulf Coast can be the new global experts on how people live and work with water whether it be the Rhine the Mississippi River or coastal Indonesia Across the

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/our-work/overview/economics/export-driven-jobs/ (2016-05-01)
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  • 2012 Coastal Master Plan Offers Long-Term Vision, Flexibility for Louisiana | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    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 2012 Coastal Master Plan Offers Long Term Vision Flexibility for Louisiana January 12 2012 Posted by Kevin Chandler in Latest News By Scott Madere Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana The release of the 2012 Coastal Master Plan by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana is a major milestone in the effort to protect and restore our coastal wetlands While it is not the first long range plan for addressing the issue of coastal land loss it is the best strategic approach we have to date for guiding Louisiana through this very complicated process And it is the first official plan that makes the hard choices that we have avoided for so long but which we all knew had to be made Grounded in scientific research adaptive in structure and specific in its recommendations the 2012 Coastal Master Plan builds on the state s previous plans and elevates its strategy into a coordinated vision of efficiency and flexibility The 2012 Coastal Master Plan is an update to Louisiana s coastal restoration policy that is mandated by the Louisiana Legislature every five years The first Master Plan released in 2007 outlined what needed to be done to protect and restore Louisiana s coast in a broad general way 2012 s Master Plan differs from its predecessor building upon it by listing specific projects with specific goals Not only does the 2012 Coastal Master Plan reveal WHAT to do about coastal land loss it reveals HOW to specifically address the issue The 2012 plan is science driven and technically robust as it relates to the evaluation and selection of coastal restoration and risk reduction projects For the first time we have a Master Plan that accounts for obstacles that might get in the way of these projects funding delays and the availability of resources among other setbacks The 2012 Coastal Master Plan will also adapt when it comes to the success or failure of a particular project If a technique is working it can become a greater part of the strategy If it is not performing as expected the plan incorporates adaptive management to make corrections The flexibility of this latest master plan is a defining element of its construction It is not a static document This is a particularly important trait as the 2012 Coastal Master Plan is a long range road map It is intended to provide coastal restoration vision for the next 50 years During that time there will be tremendous uncertainties in funding for these projects Because of this the 2012 plan has the flexibility to account for a wide range of funding scenarios It can change over time The availability of resources funding and time to implement projects also comes into play

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2012/01/12/2012-coastal-master-plan-offers-long-term-vision-flexibility-for-louisiana/ (2016-05-01)
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  • 2011 Mississippi River Flood | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Foundation LPBF on a boat ride down the Bohemia Spillway to Mardi Gras Pass As we sped down the spillway canal beautiful swamp lilies and purple morning glories popped out against a backdrop of lush green plants Once we reached our destination we saw an incredible number of birds Laughing Gulls Snowy Egrets Great Blue and Tricolored Herons just to name a few This along with an increase in the number of river otters and beavers observed is a good indicator that there are healthy fish populations in the area Thirty five miles southeast of New Orleans Mardi Gras Pass is the Mississippi River s newest and naturally evolving distributary a channel of water that flows away from the main branch of the river This new distributary began forming during the spring flood of 2011 when the water level of the Mississippi River was so high that it flowed over the natural levee in this area When the floodwaters receded Dr Lopez and his team of scientists noticed two breaches in the embankment These breaches continued to widen and deepen and soon right around Mardi Gras Day 2012 the breach was complete The Mississippi River was once again connected to the surrounding wetlands allowing freshwater and land building sediment back into the area Losing Louisiana Louisiana has lost 25 of its coastal land area since 1930 and continues to lose land at an alarming rate one football field every hour on average Man made levees along the Mississippi River cut off many small distributaries like Mardi Gras Pass from the wetlands in the floodplain of the river and have contributed to this massive wetland loss Our team here at EDF works with partner organizations including the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation as part of the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Coalition which has a vision of reconnecting the Mississippi River to its delta to help protect people wildlife and jobs in coastal Louisiana To address the complex yet urgent need for coastal restoration in Louisiana the state legislature unanimously passed the 2012 Coastal Master Plan This plan is a long term science based restoration program that includes nearly 250 restoration projects such as barrier island restoration marsh creation establishment of oyster barrier reefs and sediment diversions that will help rebuild Louisiana s disappearing coast Restoring our coast restoring my hope One of the principal guidelines for restoration under the Coastal Master Plan is to address the root causes of land loss by using the natural power of the Mississippi River to build land at a large scale Sediment diversions a central component of the plan embody this principle because they are designed to mimic the natural stages of the river and carry sediment to the areas of coastal Louisiana that need it most By operating diversions at times of high water flow like during a flood large amounts of sediment can be diverted It will then settle out in the wetlands and shallow bays eventually building land mass in vulnerable coastal areas In a way Mardi Gras Pass is a naturally occurring pilot project of a sediment diversion Knowledge gained from studying this area can tell us about the land building properties as well as the short term effects of sediment diversions To learn more about this LPBF scientists are studying how the reintroduction of freshwater and sediment to the spillway area is changing the wetlands and affecting wildlife populations Swift currents and downed trees along the edge of the flooded forest can make navigating Mardi Gras Pass somewhat treacherous but we in a trusty 14 skiff maneuvered through the channel and onto the Mississippi River for a brief but thrilling cruise This is what it means for the river to be connected to its floodplain I thought as we emerged out onto the open water this is what this ecosystem is supposed to be like Although I grew up only a few miles from it this was the third time in my life I had been out on the Mississippi River and the first time it was in a boat small enough that I could reach down and touch its muddy waters As our tiny boat circled out in that mighty river despite the heat and the midday sun I had goose bumps No Comments Study on sedimentation will help planners develop effective river diversions December 4 2012 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2011 Mississippi River Flood 2012 Coastal Master Plan Diversions Reports Science By Alisha A Renfro Ph D Staff Scientist National Wildlife Federation This year drought conditions throughout most of the country have left the Mississippi River flowing at a near all time low This is a stark comparison to 2011 when heavy rains and a large snowmelt in the spring sent record levels of water and sediment flowing down the river At the Old River Control Structure north of Baton Rouge the flow of the river is split with 70 percent continuing down the Mississippi to the Bird s Foot delta and the remaining 30 percent flowing down the Atchafalaya River During the 2011 flood the flood protection levees and the opening of the Morganza and Bonnet Carré spillways successfully shunted water safely past the high population centers in the region However this event was a missed opportunity to capitalize on the influx of fresh water and sediment and to reconnect the river with sediment starved wetlands of Louisiana In a recent study published in Nature Geoscience research led by Federico Falcini Ph D examined the link between the historic 2011 river flood and sediment accumulation in nearby wetlands Their analysis suggested that the natural dynamics of the coastal system coupled with man made alterations to the river system influenced the amount of sediment deposited in the wetlands This work shows that under river flood conditions diverting the flow of the river into shallow basins adjacent to the river could contribute significantly to sediment deposition in the wetlands and therefore contribute to wetland growth Mississippi River sediment plumes as viewed from space May 17 2011 Credit NASA Modis imagery In the study the sediment plumes of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers were tracked using satellite imagery from the 2011 flood event to understand where the sediment went once it exited these rivers The Mississippi s sediment plume exited the river in focused jets of sediment laden water due to the confinement of much of the river s flow between artificial levees This plume moved past the coastal current and into the deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico limiting the amount of sediment that could be deposited in the near shore area and adjacent wetlands In contrast the Atchafalaya s sediment plume exited the river and moved along a broad near shore area mixing with waters from the Gulf of Mexico and creating conditions that were likely to favor sediment deposition A comparison of sediment accumulation during the 2011 flood in nearby marshes shows a trend that corresponds to the difference in behavior of the two river plumes Sediment accumulation was highest at marsh sites near the Atchafalaya River which supports the idea that its sediment plume spreading out over a large area in relatively shallow water promoting increased sedimentation in the region Sediment accumulation in wetlands near the mouth of the Mississippi River was substantial but significantly lower than near the Atchafalaya While the Mississippi River carried a larger sediment load during the 2011 flood event much of the sediment was lost to the deeper waters of the gulf Louisiana s 2012 Coastal Master Plan identifies several sediment diversions that are key to restoring the important coastal Louisiana landscape The success of these diversions will depend on a variety of factors including location and operation However this new research confirms that fine sediments introduced into shallow water can substantially contribute to sediment accumulation in wetlands In order to restore the rapidly deteriorating wetlands of coastal Louisiana it is critical to reintroduce the sediment that once built this productive region 2 Comments Mardi Gras Pass A new diversion on the Mississippi River springs to life March 21 2012 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2011 Mississippi River Flood 2012 Coastal Master Plan Army Corps of Engineers Diversions Science Videos By John Lopez Ph D Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation The Bohemia Spillway located along the east bank of the Mississippi River two miles south of Pointe a la Hache La is a rare opportunity to observe the natural processes and potential benefits of the Mississippi River flow into the Louisiana wetlands Because there is no artificial river levee to obstruct flow during high water the river has been flowing into the adjacent wetlands for 85 years In 2011 the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation LPBF conducted a hydrologic study of how much water enters the spillway and where it flows during floods It was over the course of this work that LPBF researchers made an unexpected discovery a new channel was being cut by the flowing water from the Mississippi River Feb 2012 Mardi Gras Pass as it reached the Mississippi River just prior to a complete cut into the river Credit LPBF As the 2011 flood waned we began noticing this new channel and in July the channel made a dramatic breach into the nearby roadway On Mardi Gras Day 2012 Feb 21 scientists noted that the channel had reached the bank of the Mississippi River and shortly after a complete breach into the river occurred With this milestone the channel is now an extension of the Mississippi River that helps distribute the river flow through the new distributary channel At this time the distributary flow through the newly dubbed Mardi Gras Pass is small estimated to be less than 1 of the river s peak discharge 5 000 to 10 000 cubic feet per second The channel is 30 to 40 feet wide near the river but deep enough to capture river flow continuously even under very low water This new diversion was not manmade it was the result of natural river forces seeking a shorter outlet to the sea March 2012 Mardi Gras Pass Credit LPBF It can be expected that Mardi Gras Pass will expand over time The rate of enlargement is of great interest because this process has not been observed in modern times and the concern is that the diversion may become too large However enlargement of the pass may be desirable because just one mile away the new draft Louisiana Coastal Master Plan recommends a large diversion of about 4 of the river s peak flow 50 000 cubic feet per second This new diversion is estimated to cost 220 million so LPBF is encouraging the state and Army Corps of Engineers to consider Mardi Gras Pass as an alternative since it may provide the same wetland benefits for a much smaller cost and much sooner than a constructed diversion March 2012 Mardi Gras Pass Credit LPBF Another exciting aspect of Mardi Gras Pass is the rapid emergence of the riverine ecology When the channel was just a few weeks old schools of fish were observed migrating up current toward the river These pogy fish were feasting on the plant detritus being washed into the pass from the river The influx of fish to the area attracted river otters which have been commonly observed feeding in the pass Additionally beaver heron and other critters have begun taking advantage of the bounty created by the river flow in Mardi Gras Pass Support for this research is provided by The McKnight Foundation Environmental Defense Fund The Walton Family Foundation Surdna and The National Audubon Society To learn more about LPBF and the Bohemia Spillway please visit SaveOurLake org go to Coastal Technical Reports Bohemia Spillway Documentation Additional resources Video Bohemia Rising Exploring the Mississippi Delta in South Louisiana Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation Resiliency of the Bohemia Spillway and the Evolution of Mardi Gras Pass Southeast Louisiana Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation 3 Comments Can a 1926 spillway hold the key to restoring Louisiana s coast December 14 2011 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2011 Mississippi River Flood By John A Lopez Ph D Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation The Bohemia Spillway area a 12 mile reach on the east bank of the Mississippi River approximately 45 miles downriver of New Orleans is a focus of research by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation LPBF The spillway has a fascinating history In the 1920s New Orleans residents had great fear of flooding from the Mississippi River so the state authorized removal of artificial river levees to create a relief outlet for floodwater In 1926 the artificial river flood protection levees near the Bohemia Plantation were removed thus creating the Bohemia Spillway This flood protection project also fortuitously created a wonderful scientific experiment of reintroducing the river floodwater to the adjacent wetlands Land Change map comparing east Bohemia Spillway to the west bank patterns of wetlands loss Courtesy USGS Couvillion and others 2011 We find today that the wetlands near the spillway are healthier and more resilient than elsewhere in Louisiana Other than some modest shoreline erosion the wetlands seem very stable Other causes of land loss do not seem to be active Typically elsewhere oil and gas canals create direct loss of wetlands and an indirect effect by changing the wetland hydrology Many areas of coastal Louisiana have lingering land loss by canals created decades earlier Not so in Bohemia There is no pattern of indirect loss Rather many canals are filling in with sediment and marsh Some have been completely reclaimed back to marsh The response to the oil and gas canals is one of resilience rather than weakness This resiliency is probably due to the river s reconnection 85 years earlier LPBF has been investigating the spillway since 2007 During the great spring flood of 2011 a major effort was undertaken to research and understand the interaction of the river s overbank flooding and effect on the wetlands It is hoped that some of these documented natural processes can be replicated elsewhere in coastal Louisiana to make the coast more resilient LPBF will be releasing a major report on the spillway in 2012 as well as releasing a video introducing the Bohemia Spillway and this research 2 Comments Waterfowl finding new homes in thriving Mississippi River wetlands restoration project September 2 2011 Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in 2011 Mississippi River Flood Birds Diversions Restoration Projects This piece was originally posted on National Wildlife Federation s Wildlife Promise blog Caernarvon Delta August 2011 NWF staff photo By Maura Wood National Wildlife Federation Coastal Louisiana Senior Outreach Coordinator Our boat left the canal rounded a small spit of land and emerged into the outfall area of the Caernarvon freshwater diversion known as Big Mar Big Sea Situated in the last big bend of the Mississippi River about a half an hour drive south of New Orleans this failed agricultural enterprise of the past shows up on satellite photos as a big square lake Recent imagery had suggested that perhaps some mud shoals had developed as a result of the diversion But today I wasn t looking at mud shoals I was looking at acres of bushy green growing happy vegetation This couldn t be Big Mar This was Big Mar sh Caernarvon is the diversion everybody loves to hate It doesn t work they say It hasn t built land What good is it I always sigh when I hear that Diversions should be a way of reconnecting the water and sediment of the Mississippi River constrained within levees with the nearby marshes which pre levee were built and sustained by annual flooding of the river Caernarvon is not that kind of sediment diversion it is a freshwater diversion only designed to lower salinities in an area where saltwater had intruded Although the water of the Mississippi River contains lots of mud and sand this diversion project didn t focus on land building and was built instead to provide fresh water to a basin being inundated with salt But sitting in the boat in an area that could no longer be referred to as a sea but rather a sea of plants we were stunned at what the river had wrought This is more than I ever expected said John Lopez a seasoned wetland scientist and executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation This is phenomenal David Muth the National Wildlife Federation s Louisiana state director reached into the shallow water and grabbed a handful from the bottom It is mixed sand and silt Once these plants become established this marsh will not be washing away in the next hurricane the way nearby organic soils did in Katrina This is solid ground So even though the design and intention of this particular diversion hadn t encouraged it to the Mississippi River had done what it does build land Caernarvon was opened in 1990 and over the years it s transported and deposited sand and mud into Big Mar a little at a time year after year Small areas of land began emerging after Hurricane Katrina Big flood years on the river in spring 2008 and 2010 provided extra amounts of sediment and the extended opening of the diversion during the oil spill a year ago might have contributed additional sediment as well so that when the water receded more land emerged And in south Louisiana it doesn t take long for plants to take root grow and enhance land building by trapping and holding even more sediment The spring and summer of 2011 did the trick and what looked promising a year ago looked spectacular today Our boat captains and Chris Macaluso of the Louisiana Wildlife Federation NWF s state affiliate pointed to seed heads on the marshy plants that will feed flocks of ducks in the near future A few blue winged teal and mottled ducks served as tantalizing harbingers of the hundreds to follow On some

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  • 2012 Coastal Master Plan | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana Washington D C and around the United States Learn more at MississippiRiverDelta org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter No Comments 330 Groups Call on President Obama to Protect Critical Funding for Coastal Restoration March 8 2016 Posted by Emily McCalla in 2012 Coastal Master Plan coastal restoration Media Resources FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact Elizabeth Van Cleve Environmental Defense Fund 202 553 2543 evancleve edf org Emily Guidry Schatzel National Wildlife Federation 225 253 9781 schatzele nwf org Jacques Hebert National Audubon Society 504 264 6849 jhebert audubon org Jimmy Frederick Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana 225 317 2046 jimmy frederick crcl org John Lopez Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation 504 421 7348 jlopez saveourlake org 330 Groups Call on President Obama to Protect Critical Funding for Coastal Restoration Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act GOMESA Provides Crucial Source of Restoration Dollars NEW ORLEANS March 8 2016 Today the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition sent a letter to President Obama signed by 330 groups ranging from local governments and business and industry to environmental organizations and community groups in response to his 2017 proposed budget that redirects funds from the Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act GOMESA away from Gulf Coast restoration In the letter the signers urge the President to reconsider saying the move would weaken Louisiana s ability to address its severe land loss crisis for the benefit of the region and the country You have demonstrated a long standing commitment to Louisiana s ongoing recovery and its importance to the nation the groups stated in the letter We believe your proposal to redistribute GOMESA dollars is inconsistent with that very worthy commitment and we were disappointed to see it again as a part of the budget discussion this year The letter continues The restoration of coastal Louisiana s wetlands is one of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act GOMESA will soon provide the only consistent source of federal funds to continue its implementation The U S Congress passed GOMESA in 2006 by an overwhelming majority authorizing the sharing of 37 5 percent of revenues from oil and gas leasing activities with the five Gulf states Other states receive 50 percent of revenues from similar activity that occurs on their lands with no restrictions on how to use the money At the time of passage of GOMESA advocates argued that the Gulf states should receive similar treatment as they support and bear the effects of these activities The letter concludes We respectfully request that you reconsider that approach as you work with us and our communities to build the kind of long term resilience we can achieve Revenue sharing from GOMESA is set to begin in earnest in 2017 GOMESA funding is critical to implementing the state s Coastal Master Plan a science based blueprint that ties ecosystem restoration with community protection and resiliency In 2006 Louisiana voters constitutionally dedicated this funding stream to the state s Coastal Trust Fund which supports master plan implementation This move is not only bad for Louisiana it s bad for the nation as it threatens the Louisiana communities industries and wildlife that help feed and fuel our entire country said Steve Cochran Campaign Director for the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition Read the letter in full along with all signers here www mississippiriverdelta org blog 2016 03 08 mrd coalition sends president obama a letter on gomesa funding The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss we offer science based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration Composed of conservation policy science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund National Audubon Society National Wildlife Federation Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana Washington D C and around the United States Learn more at MississippiRiverDelta org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter No Comments MRD Coalition Sends President Obama a Letter Urging for Protection of GOMESA Funding Posted by Emily McCalla in 2012 Coastal Master Plan coastal restoration Media Resources Today the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition sent a letter to President Obama signed by 330 groups ranging from local governments and business and industry to environmental organizations and community groups in response to his 2017 proposed budget that redirects funds from the Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act GOMESA away from Gulf Coast restoration In the letter the signers urge the President to reconsider saying the move would weaken Louisiana s ability to address its severe land loss crisis for the benefit of the region and the country View the full letter below No Comments This Tool Lets You See Flood Risk to Your Own Home March 2 2016 Posted by Emily McCalla in 2012 Coastal Master Plan Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA Community Resiliency By Simone Maloz Executive Director Restore or Retreat smaloz Want to know more about flood risk in your own backyard zeroing in on your very address Want to know more about Louisiana Coastal Master Plan projects that will help reduce that risk Then check out the best kept secret in coastal Louisiana the Flood Risk and Resilience Viewer launched by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Watch this quick video tutorial and introduction The easy to use viewer displays information on coastal land change flood risk and impacts to communities This innovative online tool provides residents with access to the state s best information about how Louisiana s coast may change in the future as well as resources to make communities and properties safer The viewer uses data produced for the 2012 Coastal Master Plan and shows current land loss and flood risk as well as projections 50 years into the future Also displayed are the 2012 Coastal Master Plan protection and restoration projects that offer land building and risk reduction benefits across Louisiana s coast Flood risk in 50 years without the Coastal Master Plan On the homepage of the website you can enter a specific address or view the entire Louisiana coast Through an easy to navigate toolbar you can click on land change flood risk socio economic factors impacts from flooding and other resources You can delve into different sea level rise scenarios flood events 50 100 or 500 year and impacts with or without the implementation of master plan projects There is information explaining what a 100 or 500 year flood event actually means as well as a Frequently Asked Questions page to assist in using the site Restoration Projects in the 2012 Coastal Master Plan This information is also integrated with additional coast wide data on infrastructure and other elements of the built environment to show how flood risk impacts communities The information can be used to better understand current coastal flood risk and how this risk may change in the future In addition a variety of resources are provided to enable homeowners and business owners to take steps toward reducing their flood risk The viewer is intended to support residents communities local governments state agencies non profits and community advocates in coastal planning and hazard mitigation efforts and we believe it does just that But don t take our word for it check it out for yourself To learn more and explore the viewer visit cims coastal louisiana gov floodrisk As the executive director of Restore or Retreat Terrebonne Parish native Simone Maloz works daily to advance projects and policy to address the needs of the disappearing Louisiana coast specifically across the Barataria and Terrebonne Basins Ms Maloz was appointed by Governor Jindal to serve on the Governor s Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection Restoration and Conservation in the summer of 2014 She is working with her partners at the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition to ensure Louisiana remains a prosperous place where her children and their children can live work and play No Comments Louisiana Releases Draft Annual Plan for Coastal Restoration and Protection January 12 2016 Posted by jhebert in 2012 Coastal Master Plan Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA coastal restoration Diversions Restoration Projects State Legislature FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact Emily Guidry Schatzel National Wildlife Federation 225 253 9781 schatzele nwf org Jacques Hebert National Audubon Society 504 264 6849 jhebert audubon org Elizabeth Van Cleve Environmental Defense Fund 202 553 2543 evancleve edf org Jimmy Frederick Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana 225 317 2046 jimmy frederick crcl org John Lopez Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation 504 421 7348 jlopez saveourlake org Louisiana Releases Draft Annual Plan for Coastal Restoration and Protection Plan Includes CPRA s Recommendations for Two Sediment Diversions BATON ROUGE La January 12 2016 Last week Louisiana s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA released its draft Fiscal Year 2016 2017 Annual Plan for Integrated Ecosystem Restoration and Hurricane Protection in Coastal Louisiana This year s Annual Plan expands on last fall s recommendation by CPRA to advance two sediment diversion projects at Mid Barataria and Mid Breton CPRA is required by the state legislature to produce an Annual Plan that reports on the progress of projects as well as project funding schedules and budgets The agency will host a series of three public meetings this week in Lake Charles New Orleans and Thibodaux and is accepting comments on the draft plan National and local conservation groups working together on Mississippi River Delta restoration Environmental Defense Fund National Audubon Society National Wildlife Federation Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana released the following statement The drafting of the Annual Plan is a vital part of the restoration process in Louisiana It gives CPRA the opportunity to take inventory of projects in the Coastal Master Plan project real dollars to continue progress and communicate directly with the public on the status and potential futures of specific projects We are pleased to see the most current and best available science from the Coastal Master Plan process continue to drive prioritization and planning by CPRA As the Annual Plan says the Mid Barataria and Mid Breton sediment diversions must continue to move forward into engineering and design and eventually implementation Sediment diversions like these provide the best opportunity to restore our coast over time They use the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to help rebuild our collapsing delta the power sediment and water from the Mississippi River itself Our disappearing land can only survive if we allow the river that built it to rebuild and sustain it Ensuring these diversions move forward in an expedited manner should be of utmost importance to us all We look forward to continuing to work alongside CPRA other organizations and residents all along the coast to get diversions up and running The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss we offer science based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration Composed of conservation policy science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund National Audubon Society National Wildlife Federation Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana Washington D C and around the United States Learn more at MississippiRiverDelta org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter No Comments New study Cost of not pursuing significant coastal restoration could reach 133 billion December 21 2015 Posted by jhebert in 2012 Coastal Master Plan Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA coastal restoration Community Resiliency Economics Federal Policy Hurricanes Reports Restore the Coast Science By Elizabeth Van Cleve Communications Manager Environmental Defense Fund Louisiana has lost nearly 1 900 squares miles of land since the 1930s Without future action to restore the coast and reverse this trend the state stands to lose another 1 750 square miles of land by 2060 This land loss crisis not only impacts the communities wildlife and ecology of south Louisiana but it also puts cities homes infrastructure and industries at risk Coastal wetlands serve as a buffer against the effects of waves storms and sea level rise The continued loss of wetlands jeopardizes Louisiana s diverse economy as well as the entire nation that depends on the Mississippi River Delta for shipping oil and gas fisheries tourism and other industries A recent study conducted by the Louisiana State University LSU and the RAND Corporation aims to measure the future economic impacts of continued coastal land loss Commissioned by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA Economic Evaluation of Coastal Land Loss in Louisiana provides a quantitative understanding of the economic damages caused by wetlands loss if we don t take action now to restore the coast The two year study measures the projected economic costs associated with continued land loss under future with no action scenario including projected damages to capital stock such as buildings homes and roads disruption of economic activity including employment and trade flows and changes in ecosystem services and related industries such as fisheries tourism and recreation Key findings from the report include 2 1 3 5 billion Total replacement cost associated with capital stock at risk from land loss 5 8 7 4 billion Total annual output economic activity at risk from land loss 10 133 billion Increase in storm damage to capital stock 5 51 billion Total output lost to increased storm damage Every dollar we spend today on coastal restoration and protection will save us many many more dollars in the future said CPRA Board Chairman Chip Kline in a press release But beyond being cost feasible we re talking about saving lives families homes business and our way of life This study by LSU and RAND is important in making our case to Congress and the nation that it is better for many reasons to spend now rather than later Read the full report on CPRA s website here The Times Picayune video Coastal erosion hurricane could cost Louisiana 133 billion Learn more about how coastal restoration is important to the economy at OurCoastOurEconomy org No Comments 52 2 million in oil spill funds approved for Louisiana coastal restoration December 15 2015 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2012 Coastal Master Plan BP Oil Disaster coastal restoration Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA Restoration Projects RESTORE Act By Elizabeth Weiner Senior Policy Manager Environmental Defense Fund Penny Pritzker Secretary of Commerce and Chair of the RESTORE Council Dec 9 2015 Credit Robert Smith Wildlife Mississippi Last week the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration RESTORE Council approved its first Funded Priorities List FPL of projects and programs to fund with civil penalties available from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Transocean settlement This is an important step forward for the entire Gulf Coast that is still recovering from the spill In particular for the Mississippi River Delta the FPL demonstrates both the state of Louisiana s commitment to funding Coastal Master Plan projects with RESTORE dollars and progress in implementing the master plan Louisiana submitted five project proposals all of which are projects from the Coastal Master Plan While these projects are still in planning phases they represent critical near term opportunities to keep the Mississippi River Delta on its path to recovery and sustainability The Louisiana master plan projects receiving funding include Golden Triangle Marsh Creation Project 4 3 million planning Mississippi River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp Project 14 2 million planning Biloxi Marsh Living Shoreline Project 3 2 million planning West Grand Terre Beach Nourishment and Stabilization Project 7 3 million planning Lowermost Mississippi River Management Program 9 3 million planning Two additional projects Jean Lafitte Canal Backfilling 8 7 million implementation and Bayou Dularge Ridge Marsh and Hydrologic Restoration 5 2 million planning are also located in Louisiana and were included in the Council s FPL These two projects submitted for funding by federal members of the RESTORE Council are complementary to and consistent with the Coastal Master Plan and will directly benefit coastal Louisiana The RESTORE Council meeting in Biloxi Miss Dec 9 2015 Credit Robert Smith Wildlife Mississippi The finalization of this FPL comes in follow up to positive progress made through other Gulf oil spill funding streams the National Fish and Wildlife Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund created by criminal plea agreements with multiple responsible parties and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration NRDA process Now that BP s settlement of civil penalties and responsibilities under NRDA is pending both the RESTORE Council and the NRDA Trustee Council will be able to make even more progress with an eye toward large scale restoration For the RESTORE Council the next step will be an update to its Initial Comprehensive Plan to improve decision making project selection and to consider the projects planned and funded through the other oil spill funding streams For the NRDA Trustees their next step will be considering public comments and finalizing the draft Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan No Comments Coast 2050 s Lasting Impacts on Coastal Restoration November 5 2015 Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in 2012 Coastal Master Plan Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA Louisiana Coastal Area LCA Restoration Projects Water Resources Development Act WRDA By Estelle Robichaux Restoration Project Analyst Environmental Defense Fund and Gaby Garcia Science Intern Environmental Defense Fund This post is part of a series on early restoration planning in Louisiana Be sure to check out our previous posts part one part two and part three Since the early 1990 s the Coastal Wetlands Planning Preservation and Restoration Act CWPPRA has been providing a steady funding stream for Louisiana coastal restoration averaging about 45

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  • Coastal Master Plan series | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    system to prevent the continued influx of sea water into formerly freshwater marshes Simple on paper tricky in practice At an implementation level two important capabilities need to be developed for the master plan to move forward One is to demonstrate the feasibility of long distance pipeline sediment delivery Much of the Coastal Master Plan depends upon finding a viable way to move vast volumes of sediment many tens of miles through dredge pipes We have a great deal of experience with relatively smaller scale projects for both marsh creation and barrier island restoration but the master plan proposes projects that will be carried out on a much larger scale moving material over much greater distances than ever before While there seems to be no technical reason this cannot be done actually doing it will be important for fine tuning the plan The Wax Lake Outlet on the lower Atchafalaya River the newest land in North America Similarly we need to test and demonstrate a sediment diversion somewhere other than at the mouth of the Mississippi River The very existence of southeast Louisiana proves that such diversions build land We have extensive experience cutting artificial distributaries near the mouth of the river and letting them build land from Cubit s Gap and a dozen other cuts on the Mississippi below Venice to the Wax Lake Outlet on the lower Atchafalaya River We also know that crevasses through the man made levee system prior to 1928 moved vast quantities of sediment into the upper estuaries But we have never deliberately designed and constructed a controlled sediment diversion and we will learn a great deal more than modeling can tell us by actually doing it All told the to do list for Coastal Master Plan implementation seems long but with RESTORE Act and NRDA fines on the way we will have the funding to jumpstart restoration Combine this funding with the proper planning and prioritization and coastal Louisiana will take several steps closer to a more sustainable future 1 Comment The Next 50 Years Climate change and the Coastal Master Plan Hope for the best but plan for the worst July 19 2012 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2012 Coastal Master Plan Coastal Master Plan series Diversions Hurricanes Science By Dr Doug Meffert Executive Director Audubon Louisiana Louisiana s 2012 Coastal Master Plan takes a realistic and critical examination of the effects of climate change impacts on the future of coastal Louisiana both in terms of prioritization of restoration projects as well as risk reduction In its less optimistic scenario the master plan estimates 0 45 meters of sea level rise over the next fifty years This is in addition to between zero and 25 millimeters per year of land subsidence with the fragile deltaic plain having the highest rates The resultant combination of sea level rise and subsidence predicts that relative sea level rise will be more than one meter during the next century in some areas of the Mississippi River Delta Additionally this scenario anticipates a 20 percent increase in storm intensity and a 2 5 percent increase in storm frequency for Category 1 hurricanes and greater As climate change brings more severe storms and rising seas to Louisiana s coast it is important to incorporate these predictions into the formulation of the Coastal Master Plan Predicted land change over the next 50 years Source Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana CPRA This less optimistic scenario predicts a very different and more vulnerable coast than we had in the 20 th century The master plan uses this scenario for its predictions for future flooding from a 100 year event and for prioritization of restoration projects since what is labeled as less optimistic in the report could just as accurately be labeled as increasingly likely This scenario is consistent with the recent assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change IPCC the findings from the Durban Climate Change Conference in November 2011 and more recently peer reviewed articles Blum and Roberts 2012 Day et al 2012 In fact one of the master plan s Science and Engineering Board members Dr Virginia Burkett was a coauthor of the IPCC s 2007 report which garnered the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for the IPCC Hope for the best but plan for the worst is the adage adopted by the Coastal Master Plan and I couldn t agree more As it is there is not enough sediment in the Mississippi River to offset the predicted land loss from relative sea level rise and erosion if we do nothing This means we need to act now for a future coast that supports the fisheries birds and other ecological services upon which we depend We need to plan for a future coast that still provides a natural storm surge buffer for our cities towns and critical infrastructure That future coast will just be different than what we ve known in the past And that future coast depends on implementing large scale river diversions with no further delay We finally have a realistic master plan based on the best science possible Now we just need to implement it No Comments The Next 50 Years Funding features for the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan July 17 2012 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2012 Coastal Master Plan BP Oil Disaster Clean Water Act Coastal Master Plan series Congress Federal Policy Louisiana Coastal Area LCA Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA RESTORE Act Water Resources Development Act WRDA By Cynthia Duet Director of Governmental Relations National Audubon Society Louisiana s recently passed 2012 Coastal Master Plan contains an ambitious mix of risk reduction and restoration projects spread across the entire Louisiana coastal area Such ambition does however come with a price costing an estimated 50 billion over 50 years and so the plan is also frank in its account of the uncertainties and complexities of funding and creating a sustainable coastal Louisiana ecosystem To reverse generations of massive and ongoing land loss encroaching sea level rise and a decade of natural and manmade disasters the funding challenge must be met head on The state acknowledges the need to quickly begin the large scale work laid out in the plan At the same time project implementation depends on funding from a myriad of sources These projects will also be implemented by various actors some projects by Louisiana s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA others by local or federal partners Progress will be tracked through the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Annual Plan which will identify specific projects schedules and funding streams So now that the plan is passed does the funding exist to implement the plan In recent years and in brighter economic times the Louisiana Legislature authorized a generous allocation of state surplus dollars a total of 790 million between 2007 and 2009 to accelerate implementation of priority projects for the coast Additionally the Coastal Impact Assistance Program CIAP established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 provided nearly 500 million to the state of Louisiana and its coastal parishes the bulk of which was obligated and spent on critical protection and restoration projects in fiscal years 2007 2010 These dollars accompanied by the long standing Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act CWPPRA dollars approximately 80 million per year to which the state matches 15 the Louisiana Coastal Area Program LCA dollars and related federal funds through the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 WRDA are the foundation upon which the coastal program has been funded to date On the horizon are revenues from the sale of mineral leases and royalty revenue from oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico that have been dedicated to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Trust fund through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Securities Act of 2006 GOMESA Though funding from this program has trickled through in modest increments since 2007 larger revenue streams from these royalties will be available in 2017 when Phase II of that program begins Estimates of funding for Louisiana from this source have ranged up to 500 million annually on the high end but the true figures are nearly impossible to pin down because they are tied to new leasing and drilling activities in the gulf As the state continues to ramp up its coastal efforts bringing more and larger projects to construction more money is required in the short term to fill the gap between now and 2017 when the GOMESA funding is realized Some significant recent commitments to funding have come in the form of post Deepwater Horizon oil spill commitments BP announced an historic Early Restoration Framework Agreement on April 21 2011 committing an unprecedented 1 billion for early restoration projects as a jump start for the Natural Resources Damage Assessment NRDA process Rather than waiting for up to a decade or more the gulf states negotiated this down payment from BP to begin recovery and restoration of natural resources The agreement allocated 100 million for projects in Louisiana and a shared portion of 300 million to be allocated to states based on impacts On July 6 2012 the President signed into law the transportation funding bill which contains the RESTORE Act a landmark piece of legislation that dedicates 80 percent of all Clean Water Act penalties and fines from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to projects in the gulf states for environmental and economic recovery The settlement has yet to be reached that will ultimately determine the exact value of those dollars to be directed to impacted gulf states but the range is somewhere between 5 and 21 billion For planning purposes the Coastal Master Plan was crafted using reasonable budget projections and a conservative view of what is likely to be received by the state in the coming decades a range of between 20 and 50 billion in present value dollars over the next 50 years This range was further defined and annualized and an estimated 400 million to 1 billion per year was the result The Coastal Master Plan emphasizes that funds are not guaranteed and that funding levels are based on the state s best educated guess Funds will not arrive at once but will be spaced over the next 50 years and much of the expected funding is tied to CWPPRA about 80 million per year requiring a reauthorization in 2019 GOMESA about 110 million per year after 2017 LCA about 150 milllion per year the RESTORE Act and NRDA In summary insufficient funding has been the Achilles heel of coastal work for decades Though this will remain the case for years to come as the implementation of the large and ambitious 2012 Coastal Master Plan begins to unfold the necessary elements are finally beginning to come together for a hopeful future Through continued efforts by the State of Louisiana its delegation leaders the U S Congress and a bit of urging by our own NGO partners we can all work together to make the Coastal Master Plan s vision a reality No Comments The Next 50 Years Louisiana Coastal Area projects in the master plan July 12 2012 Posted by Delta Dispatches in Coastal Master Plan series Louisiana Coastal Area LCA Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Restoration Projects Whites Ditch This is the fourth post in our The Next 50 Years Coastal Master Plan series Check back as we continue diving into the master plan and what it means for the people and environment of the Mississippi River Delta By Alisha A Renfro Ph D Staff Scientist National Wildlife Federation To formulate Louisiana s 2012 Coastal Master Plan coastal authorities evaluated nearly 250 restoration projects that had been proposed in previous parish and state level restoration plans This number was then narrowed down by setting a realistically achievable budget modeling for future environmental conditions and understanding how the implementation of individual projects could help sustain or build land over the next 50 years Projects included in the Louisiana Coastal Area LCA Comprehensive Study were among those considered for inclusion in the master plan and many of these projects or similar versions of them were included in the 2012 Coastal Master Plan By incorporating these projects in the long term vision of restoration for coastal Louisiana these projects will be better integrated with others in the master plan Additionally inclusion of these LCA projects shows the state s commitment to their construction and implementation The LCA Program was authorized through the 2007 Water Resources Development Act and includes 15 near term critical restoration projects As part of the LCA Program the state of Louisiana and the U S Army Corps of Engineers work together to plan and implement these 15 projects To date construction has not begun on any of these projects and as they near the construction phase the lack of federal funding in the immediate future threatens to delays them indefinitely That is until Congress passed the RESTORE Act in June Signed into law just last week the RESTORE Act will ensure that 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines BP and other responsible parties will pay as a result of the 2010 gulf oil spill are dedicated to environmental restoration in the gulf states In Louisiana this money will be used to help fund the restoration projects outlined in the master plan Of the 15 LCA projects nine were included in the 2012 Coastal Master Plan But in many cases the project selected and described in the master plan is a modified version of the original LCA project This is a result of the analysis conducted in the planning process that indicated that modifications to the project would increase the land it built or maintained However it should be noted that the projects described in the master plan are still conceptual as their exact size and location will be determined through further planning and design Below is a list of the LCA projects and a brief description of the corresponding project included in the master plan The extensive analysis that went into formulating the master plan indicates that the capacity of several of the LCA sediment diversions may need to be scaled up in order to maximize the amount of land they can build and sustain By including so many LCA projects in the plan coastal authorities reaffirmed the importance of these critical projects to restoring the coastal Louisiana landscape Moving away from smaller restoration projects toward larger ecosystem scale projects will help restore the natural hydrology and mimic the processes that built the Mississippi River Delta thus creating a more sustainable coastline for the people who call the region home No Comments The Next 50 Years Nonstructural storm protection July 2 2012 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2012 Coastal Master Plan Coastal Master Plan series Community Resiliency The Netherlands By Brian Jackson Associate Director Stakeholder Engagement Environmental Defense Fund Last month the Louisiana Legislature passed the 2012 Coastal Master Plan capping off years of public engagement and analysis The 50 year plan lays out a bold path of projects and programs to restore the environment and protect the people economies and environment of the Mississippi River Delta The total cost of the plan is 50 billion of which 10 2 billion is dedicated to nonstructural risk reduction measures So what is nonstructural protection anyways Why would the master plan allocate one out of every five dollars for nonstructural approaches And what does it mean for Louisiana s coastal communities The term nonstructural originated because nonstructural storm protection is considered the alternative to traditional structural flood protection i e levees Structural measures control water and keep it out or away from an area while nonstructural measures accommodate water and make buildings and infrastructure more adaptable and resilient to water Nonstructural approaches have been cleverly named Living with Water by colleagues at home such as Waggonner Ball Architects in New Orleans and abroad through the Dutch Dialogues workshops in the Netherlands Nonstructural measures include a wide array of activities including evacuation home elevation flood proofing of buildings flood insurance planning and zoning and storm proofing critical public facilities Nonstructural storm protection measures can be undertaken quickly in fact Louisiana has already implemented many of these measures through The Road Home program the Coastal Land Use Toolkit developed by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and Center for Planning Excellence and other flood mitigation programs Whether behind already existing levee protection or down on the bayou nonstructural measures are cost effective for reducing flood risk to homes and businesses Every dollar spent on disaster mitigation saves four dollars in recovery costs This is why the master plan relies so heavily on nonstructural protection Elevated house Credit TRAC Terrebonne Readiness Assistance Coalition Additionally nonstructural measures don t alter natural hydrology meaning they can work in synergy with large scale restoration efforts such as river diversions Nonstructural measures also work in places where levee protection may already exist where levees may not be feasible and where federal appropriations or permitting issues may exist The Coastal Master Plan s nonstructural program is based on an analysis of 116 project areas throughout coastal Louisiana Each area was analyzed for flood risk building characteristics and adoption of risk reduction measures The results of this study were used to determine the coast wide need for risk reduction the 10 2 billion nonstructural budget and a suite of measures that could be implemented across the coast The analysis did not result in firm nonstructural plans for each of the 116 project areas Instead the goal of the study was to determine the need and budget for a new nonstructural program not how the nonstructural program would be implemented This situation presents both a challenge and an opportunity for local communities and nongovernmental organizations to work with the state as it defines the implementation and budget of the nonstructural program The master plan study determined that Louisiana s rural coastal areas will benefit

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  • Army Corps of Engineers | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    used to manage the floodwaters and protect people and property along the lower Mississippi River Up next in this blog series Alisha Renfro will examine sediment levels in the Mississippi River during high flood conditions and what implications this could have for coastal restoration i Mississippi River and Tributaries Project Accessed 1 7 2016 ii The Mississippi River and Tributaries Project Controlling the Project Flood No Comments New study Cost of not pursuing significant coastal restoration could reach 133 billion December 21 2015 Posted by jhebert in 2012 Coastal Master Plan Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA coastal restoration Community Resiliency Economics Federal Policy Hurricanes Reports Restore the Coast Science By Elizabeth Van Cleve Communications Manager Environmental Defense Fund Louisiana has lost nearly 1 900 squares miles of land since the 1930s Without future action to restore the coast and reverse this trend the state stands to lose another 1 750 square miles of land by 2060 This land loss crisis not only impacts the communities wildlife and ecology of south Louisiana but it also puts cities homes infrastructure and industries at risk Coastal wetlands serve as a buffer against the effects of waves storms and sea level rise The continued loss of wetlands jeopardizes Louisiana s diverse economy as well as the entire nation that depends on the Mississippi River Delta for shipping oil and gas fisheries tourism and other industries A recent study conducted by the Louisiana State University LSU and the RAND Corporation aims to measure the future economic impacts of continued coastal land loss Commissioned by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA Economic Evaluation of Coastal Land Loss in Louisiana provides a quantitative understanding of the economic damages caused by wetlands loss if we don t take action now to restore the coast The two year study measures the projected economic costs associated with continued land loss under future with no action scenario including projected damages to capital stock such as buildings homes and roads disruption of economic activity including employment and trade flows and changes in ecosystem services and related industries such as fisheries tourism and recreation Key findings from the report include 2 1 3 5 billion Total replacement cost associated with capital stock at risk from land loss 5 8 7 4 billion Total annual output economic activity at risk from land loss 10 133 billion Increase in storm damage to capital stock 5 51 billion Total output lost to increased storm damage Every dollar we spend today on coastal restoration and protection will save us many many more dollars in the future said CPRA Board Chairman Chip Kline in a press release But beyond being cost feasible we re talking about saving lives families homes business and our way of life This study by LSU and RAND is important in making our case to Congress and the nation that it is better for many reasons to spend now rather than later Read the full report on CPRA s website here The Times Picayune video Coastal erosion hurricane could cost Louisiana 133 billion Learn more about how coastal restoration is important to the economy at OurCoastOurEconomy org No Comments Funding for Louisiana Coastal Area Program Included in Omnibus Spending Bill December 17 2015 Posted by jhebert in Army Corps of Engineers coastal restoration Congress Federal Policy Louisiana Coastal Area LCA Media Resources Water Resources Development Act WRDA FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact Emily Guidry Schatzel National Wildlife Federation 225 253 9781 schatzele nwf org Jacques Hebert National Audubon Society 504 264 6849 jhebert audubon org Elizabeth Van Cleve Environmental Defense Fund 202 553 2543 evancleve edf org Jimmy Frederick Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana 225 317 2046 jimmy frederick crcl org John Lopez Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation 504 421 7348 jlopez saveourlake org Funding for Louisiana Coastal Area Program Included in Omnibus Spending Bill Money Will Help Advance Critical Coastal Restoration Projects WASHINGTON Dec 17 2015 Yesterday the U S Congress unveiled a year end spending bill that includes more than 10 million in funding for the Louisiana Coastal Area LCA Program The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 is expected to be approved in coming days by the full Congress This funding includes 10 million for LCA Beneficial Use of Dredged Materials BUD Mat Construction and 50 000 for LCA General Investigations and reflects a request in the President s FY 16 budget These levels were previously included in both U S House and U S Senate versions of FY 16 Energy and Water Appropriations bills National and local conservation groups working together on Mississippi River Delta restoration Environmental Defense Fund National Audubon Society National Wildlife Federation Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana released the following statement We commend Congressional leaders and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for including critical funding for the Louisiana Coastal Area Program in this year end spending bill LCA projects will help restore critical wetlands throughout the Mississippi River Delta which will protect Louisiana s vital coastal infrastructure and natural resources We would especially like to thank the Louisiana Congressional delegation for their bipartisan efforts and dedication to Louisiana s coast The Mississippi River Delta is home to more than 2 million people and countless wildlife and birds and is an economic engine for the entire nation providing billions of dollars in economic activity Ten years after Hurricane Katrina and five years after the Gulf oil disaster this funding provides a critical opportunity to advance much needed coastal restoration We are gratified by the commitment to restoration the Obama Administration and Congress have shown in advancing the restoration program in fiscal year 2016 and we look forward to continued progress in the years ahead The state of Louisiana has included many LCA projects in its 2012 Coastal Master Plan and this funding is an important down payment in the effort to move that important suite of projects forward along the path to completion Our organizations look forward to working with the state of Louisiana and the U S Army Corps of Engineers on seeing these Louisiana Coastal Area Program projects through from engineering and design to implementation The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss we offer science based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration Composed of conservation policy science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund National Audubon Society National Wildlife Federation Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana Washington D C and around the United States Learn more at MississippiRiverDelta org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter No Comments Expert panel discusses diversions as a coastal restoration tool January 17 2014 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2012 Coastal Master Plan Army Corps of Engineers Diversions Meetings Events Restoration Projects Science By Alisha A Renfro Ph D National Wildlife Federation Last week in Baton Rouge The Water Institute of the Gulf hosted the inaugural meeting of the Expert Panel on Diversion Planning and Implementation The panel comprised of 12 experts in natural and social sciences engineering and economics was selected from more than 60 nominees from across the country Panel members are all from outside Louisiana in order to foster critical and constructive review of work being led by Louisiana based experts Under the direction of The Water Institute of the Gulf and meeting up to three times a year this independent panel will provide technical review input and guidance as the state moves forward and refines its plans for diverting fresh water and sediment from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers to build maintain and sustain coastal wetlands For this first meeting the panel was asked to consider the most suitable approaches to addressing current or perceived uncertainties in the planning and design of sediment diversions The first day of this meeting was open to the public and included a series of presentations outlining the urgent need for restoration in coastal Louisiana as well as various perspectives on sediment diversions Kyle Graham Deputy Executive Director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA summarized Louisiana s 2012 Coastal Master Plan In his presentation Graham pointed out that there was no single restoration project type that can address the state s land loss crisis in one fell swoop but that a suite of restoration projects are needed including barrier island restoration marsh creation oyster barrier reefs shoreline protection hydrologic restoration and sediment diversions Barrier island restoration and marsh creation can mechanically create land in strategic locations but sediment diversions convey sediment to not only build new land but also to maintain existing wetlands that would otherwise be lost Brigadier General Duke DeLuca Commander of the U S Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division presented the Corps perspective on sediment diversions DeLuca discussed some of the questions that the Corps would like to see answered as sediment diversions move from plan to implementation Many of these outstanding questions should be directly addressed through the Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study a joint project being conducted by the State of Louisiana and the Corps The study will use historic and field data along with models to do an assessment of large scale restoration features to address sustainability of the Mississippi River Delta Additional presenters included Jim Tripp from Environmental Defense Fund Michael Massimi from the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program Dr Ehab Mesehle from The Water Institute of the Gulf and Dr Alaa Ali from South Florida Water Management District In a late afternoon panel Mark Wingate and Martin Mayer of the Corps New Orleans District John Ettinger of the Environmental Protection Agency and Ronnie Paille of U S Fish and Wildlife Service discussed their federal agencies views on diversions Afterwards the public was given the opportunity to voice their thoughts and concerns about coastal restoration directly to the panel The following day panel members met in private to discuss the uncertainties discussed and the science that needs to be done to address these uncertainties A report on that meeting will be given at a CPRA meeting in the coming months Bold solutions are needed to halt the rate of catastrophic land loss in coastal Louisiana Every year communities throughout the coast inch closer to disaster becoming more and more exposed to the destructive forces of storm events Infrastructure which is vitally important to the economy of Louisiana and the nation becomes more vulnerable and important habitat for wildlife fish and birds vanishes Limited by money and sediment resources there is no one type of restoration project that is a cure all solution A suite of restoration projects that strengthen and sustain the landscape is necessary Sediment diversions use the natural power of the river to build new land and help maintain the existing wetlands To do nothing or to only implement the least challenging types of restoration projects would doom the resource rich Louisiana coast No Comments The Billion Dollar Question Who pays for MRGO ecosystem restoration December 10 2013 Posted by Delta Dispatches in Army Corps of Engineers Community Resiliency Hurricane Katrina Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Water Resources Development Act WRDA By Amanda Moore National Wildlife Federation Last Tuesday the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority authorized the state attorney general to file suit against the U S Army Corps of Engineers in an effort to get the federal government to pick up 100 percent of the expense for the federal plan for ecosystem restoration of damage caused by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet MRGO Since 2008 there has been an ongoing dispute between the state and the Corps involving interpretation of Water Resources and Development Act WRDA of 2007 legislation in which Congress directed the Corps to develop a plan for restoration of the MRGO ecosystem at full federal expense The 3 billion plan mandated for completion by May of 2008 was finally completed in 2012 Yet there is still disagreement over what cost share Congress intended leaving this critical federal restoration effort at a standstill The state contends that construction is a 100 percent federal expense while the Corps contends that the typical cost share on restoration projects 65 percent federal and 35 percent state applies This billion dollar question will now be determined by a judge Degraded marsh at lower end of the Central Wetlands near the MRGO The MRGO Must Go Coalition a group of 17 conservation and neighborhood organizations working since 2006 to see the MRGO closed and the ecosystem restored has researched this cost share issue for several years We believe that Congress intended for the MRGO projects under WRDA to be at 100 percent federal cost for construction responding to the catastrophic flooding of New Orleans and St Bernard Parish during Katrina and the devastating role the MRGO played in this event Given the extent and urgency of the restoration needs however we call on the state of Louisiana the Corps and potentially other federal agencies to work together to identify all available funding sources and ensure restoration moves forward in a timely manner All parties involved should be present to work first and foremost to ensure timely implementation of comprehensive MRGO ecosystem restoration as mandated by Congress We are painfully aware that every day the MRGO ecosystem further deteriorates and communities remain at risk We welcome this opportunity for the federal court to resolve the cost share dispute But no matter how the ruling comes down the bigger question remains Where will the funds come from to pay for the 3 billion in restoration projects outlined in the MRGO ecosystem restoration plan Billions of dollars will have to be appropriated by Congress It is our job as stakeholders in the resiliency and safety of the Greater New Orleans Area and as citizens who care about justice being served for the communities and ecosystem torn apart by the MRGO to ensure that our leaders in Congress clearly understand the importance of this restoration effort and that they find the will to get it done Learn more and take action at www MRGOmustGO org No Comments Recap of Wednesday s Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study Technical Meeting October 25 2013 Posted by Delta Dispatches in Army Corps of Engineers Diversions Meetings Events Restoration Projects Science By Alisha Renfro Coastal Scientist National Wildlife Federation The Mississippi River is one of the most managed river systems in the world However that management has focused on navigation and flood control needs to the detriment of the economically and ecologically important coastal Louisiana landscape This week the U S Army Corps of Engineers and Louisiana s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA hosted a public meeting in New Orleans to present information and preliminary results of their joint effort on the Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study This large scale long term study is developing tools to evaluate different combinations of restoration projects in an effort to address the long term sustainability of the Mississippi River and its delta while balancing the needs of navigation flood protection and restoration The scope of the study extends from Vicksburg Miss south to the Bird s Foot delta The study is actually comprised of two coupled but somewhat distinct efforts The hydrodynamic portion of the study will focus on characterizing the dynamics in the river and developing models that can be used to evaluate river side changes due to proposed freshwater and sediment diversion projects It will also inform location and design of these projects to maximize their effectiveness and minimize the potential for shoaling in the river s navigation channel The delta management part of the study will focus on the basin side benefits and changes caused by these restoration projects The delta management portion of the study has not yet begun Currently the state of Louisiana and the Army Corps are working to define the depth and breadth of that part of the study The afternoon session of the meeting focused on detailed technical presentations on the study The different tasks of the Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study include a geomorphic assessment data collection and an extensive modeling effort The geomorphic assessment focuses on compiling historical river data dredging records and satellite imagery to document the historical trends in the river The data collection effort will compile existing data and conduct field work to fill in gaps in understanding of the water and sediment dynamics that currently exist in the river The historical data and present data will be integrated into the modeling work to inform the models and to ensure that the models capture the dynamics of the river system The modeling effort includes a suite of models that each has different strengths and weaknesses These models will be used to forecast the large scale long term and shorter term regional changes expected in the river in both a future without river diversions and a future that includes different combinations of diversion projects The presentations from the technical meeting indicate that this collaborative state of Louisiana and Army Corps effort has moved forward significantly since it began The geomorphic assessment has been completed and a final report on its results is expected by the end of this year The data collection effort is ongoing having captured the low discharge of the river last year and the higher flow discharge from this past spring Many of the preliminary model simulations have begun and the preliminary results presented at this meeting emphasized the dynamic nature of the Mississippi River system where water discharge sediment transport and deposition can not only vary greatly from year to year but also from week to week The preliminary results also point to the importance of appropriate size location and operation of sediment diversions in order to maximize sediment conveyance into adjacent wetlands and to reduce

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  • Birds | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    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 Barrier islands also play a critical role in the life cycle of dozens of migratory shorebirds and breeding seabirds Louisiana at the base of the Mississippi Flyway and with the Mississippi River Delta central to the Gulf of Mexico supports astoundingly high proportions of regional or global populations of many coastal nesting species of conservation concern Many of these species largely depend on barrier islands for nesting including Brown Pelicans Tricolored Herons Sandwich Terns Royal Terns and Black Skimmers Coastal Louisiana s shorelines and barrier islands also support important stopover and wintering habitat for a substantial proportion of Great Plains Piping Plovers hendersoni Short billed Dowitchers and western Willets as well as many other species of sandpiper and plover Black Skimmers in Grand Isle La Photo Erik Johnson Audubon Louisiana Up next we ll get into the specifics of why barrier islands are so important to birds No Comments Help Count Birds for Science during Audubon s Annual Christmas Bird Count December 11 2015 Posted by lbourg in Birds Climate Science Wildlife The National Audubon Society invites birdwatchers to participate in the longest running citizen science survey the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count CBC From December 14 through January 5 birders and nature enthusiasts in Louisiana will take part in this tradition many rising before dawn to participate Buff bellied Hummingbird wintering in Louisiana swamp Photo John Hartgerink Louisiana is home to millions of birds each winter including waterfowl shorebirds and songbirds Understanding how the populations of these birds are changing is revealed through CBC efforts which is critical for knowing how to best ensure their survival says Dr Erik Johnson Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Louisiana Each year the Audubon Christmas Bird Count mobilizes over 72 000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2 400 locations across the Western Hemisphere The Audubon Christmas Bird Count utilizes the power of volunteers to track the health of bird populations at a scale that scientists could never accomplish alone Data compiled in Louisiana will record every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area contributing to a vast citizen science network that continues a tradition stretching back more than 100 years To date over 200 peer reviewed articles have resulted from analysis done with Christmas Bird Count data Bird related citizen science efforts are also critical to understand how birds are responding to a changing climate This documentation is what enabled Audubon scientists to discover that 314 species of North American birds are threatened by global warming as reported in Audubon s groundbreaking Birds and Climate Change Study The tradition of counting birds combined with modern technology and mapping is enabling researchers to make discoveries that were not possible in earlier decades In addition to counting up some of our more common birds Louisiana CBC participants also look for vagrants birds that normally spend the winter elsewhere but made a wrong turn somewhere along the way Last winter Louisiana CBC volunteers found a total 254 species of birds including amazing vagrants like Lucy s Warbler Ferrugineous Hawk and Brown Boobies What unusual birds will be found this winter Birders of all ages are welcome to contribute to this fun nationwide citizen science project which provides ornithologists with a crucial snapshot of our native bird populations during the winter months Each individual count is performed in a count circle with a diameter of 15 miles At least ten volunteers including a compiler to coordinate the process count in each circle The volunteers break up into small parties and follow assigned routes counting every bird they see In most count circles some people also watch feeders instead of following routes Want to get involved To find a count near you visit christmasbirdcount org Counts are open to birders of all skill levels and Audubon s free Bird Guide app makes it even easier to chip in There is no fee to participate and the quarterly report American Birds is available online No Comments Audubon Louisiana training volunteers for Coastal Stewardship Program June 10 2015 Posted by lbourg in Birds Wildlife By Ashley Peters Communications Associate National Audubon Society Volunteers gather in Grand Isle to learn about issues facing Louisiana s beach nesting birds In May a group of more than 30 volunteers gathered at the Grand Isle Community Center to learn about issues facing Louisiana s beach nesting birds and how people can help Cute fuzzy chicks of birds such as Least Terns and Wilson s Plovers need our help during each spring and summer to protect them from human disturbance and other threats There are many ways birds and people can share the beach it s just a matter of awareness says Erik Johnson Audubon Louisiana s Director of Bird Conservation We need help informing beach goers about what beach nesting birds need to successfully raise their little ones These threatened birds need safe open sandy areas and we hope folks will respect the birds by keeping their distance The volunteer training included information on how to identify shorebirds how to interpret bird behavior and ways to help beach nesting birds succeed The training was followed by a crawfish boil celebration to show appreciation for new and current volunteers as well as program partners Least Tern Crane Beach MA Least Tern and Wilson s Plover chicks are camouflaged to avoid predation and nests are also hard to see because the birds lay their eggs in shallow depressions or scrapes in the sand Audubon Louisiana marks sensitive beach areas with signs and symbolic fencing to prevent people from accidentally entering nesting sites This reduces the chances of eggs and chicks being inadvertently trampled run over or harmed in other ways if parent birds are flushed or chased away from nests In addition to ensuring there is suitable habitat for birds through the implementation of Louisiana s Coastal Master Plan and other initiatives Audubon organizes the Coastal Bird Stewardship Program as well as the Coastal Bird Survey to monitor and encourage birds to successfully live and breed on beaches Next time you re on the beach remember the following Keep your distance Sensitive nesting areas are posted with signs When an adult bird is flushed or chased away chicks and eggs are vulnerable to predators and overheating Keep pets leashed Nesting birds are very sensitive even good pets are perceived as predators and will disturb nesting activities Take your trash with you and dispose of fishing line properly Birds can become easily entangled in loose line plastic bags and other unsightly garbage Please do not feed the wildlife This will attract predators like gulls crows and other animals that will eat bird eggs and chicks Get involved Volunteer stewards help teach beachgoers how to help protect these vulnerable birds Join our mailing list to receive updates news and notifications about volunteer opportunities To learn more about how you can help birds visit La Audubon org coastalstewardship or email Louisiana Audubon org To learn more about Audubon s Coastal Stewardship Programs watch this video https www youtube com watch v D 7O2vfEIG8 No Comments 8th Graders Present Project to Louisiana House on Coastal Restoration April 30 2015 Posted by lbourg in 5 Years Later Birds BP Oil Disaster Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA Wildlife By Eden Davis Outreach Coordinator Louisiana Wildlife Federation This was originally posted on the LA Camo Coalition blog On April 29 a group of 8th graders from Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Belle Chasse presented to the Louisiana House Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment about the importance of coastal restoration The Committee diligently listened as the 8th graders used Cat Island as a call to action on the urgency for restoring our coast Cat Island located in Plaquemines Parish has all but disappeared going from a pre BP 5 acres to now mere tenths of an acre The 8th graders have spearheaded a campaign called the Pelican Cat astrophe Their focus is on restoring Cat Island due to the island serving as critical pelican habitat and also as the first line of defense for coastal communities against storm surge Cat Island has historically been one of the greatest nesting locations for the Louisiana state bird the brown pelican Until 2009 the brown pelican was on the endangered species list Cat Island These students are quite persuasive after presenting to the Plaquemines Parish Council the Council approved 1 2 million in spending to restore Cat Island After the 8th graders spoke Chip Kline from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority confirmed the state s plans to restore Cat Island Kline said that the exact amount of funding is contingent on what damage to Cat Island the Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA determines is the fault of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Go the Pelican Cat astrophe website here No Comments 5 Years After BP Oil Spill Audubon Stewards the Gulf April 16 2015 Posted by lbourg in 5 Years Later Birds BP Oil Disaster Wildlife In the wake of the worst marine oil spill in U S history Audubon is working to protect bird populations and restore critical habitat across all five Gulf states By Chris Canfield Vice President National Audubon Society Gulf Coast and Mississippi Flyway This post has been cross posted from an article originally published on the National Audubon Society s website This Monday marks five years since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded claiming 11 lives and unleashing the worst marine oil spill in U S history In that time the National Audubon Society has built on its 100 year legacy of protecting bird populations throughout the Gulf Coast and has extended its footprint of stewardship across all five states The Gulf Coast is an important breeding ground and migratory rest stop for many coastal birds including Brown Pelicans Least Terns Wilson s Plovers Sanderlings and other vulnerable species BP oil reached the coastal habitats on which these birds rely during shorebird migration at the height of nesting season for breeding waterbirds resulting in the death of an estimated 1 million birds In the immediate aftermath of the spill Audubon staff and hundreds of volunteers were on the ground facilitating transport of oiled birds for cleaning and care protecting critical habitat and nesting grounds and being the voice for birds throughout the disaster In the years that followed Audubon engaged its network of volunteers to help pass the historic RESTORE Act ensuring that a majority of funds from the Clean Water Act fines BP pays will be allocated towards restoration efforts In order to understand the immediate and long term effects on birds Audubon scientists also developed the Audubon Coastal Bird Survey a citizen scientist effort to monitor the health of coastal populations and to provide a better accounting of these populations going forward The program has been expanded to all five Gulf states Five years have come and gone since the oil spill and as the ongoing effects continue to be felt the National Audubon Society is focused on ramping up its important steward ship for birds at more than 200 sites across the Gulf Coast We empower citizens and communities to protect terns and skimmers in nesting colonies protect the access of plover chicks to their feeding grounds and oversee critical waterbird colonies from Florida to Texas We still await assessment of full fines to BP and others involved with the catastrophic spill but we have been successful putting available funds to work on expanded coastal bird protections To all of our volunteers supporters and friends who have been there for the Gulf and its bird populations thank you for helping us make significant progress in confronting this terrible disaster We have a long way to go before meaningful restoration is achieved so please stay engaged and stay committed In the meantime I encourage you to share this video to inform others about the important work Audubon is doing throughout the Gulf Coast and sign this petition asking BP to stop its campaign of misinformation and pay for the damage done No Comments 5 Years Later Birds Still Need Your Help April 13 2015 Posted by lbourg in 5 Years Later Birds BP Oil Disaster By Ashley Peters Communications Associate Audubon Louisiana In 2010 waves of oil in the Gulf strangled and crippled the very birds that conservationists had been fighting so hard to protect like the Brown Pelican and Piping Plover The outpouring of support was incredible as tens of thousands of people signed up to volunteer with the National Audubon Society all of them asking How can I help Bird surveys provide valuable data to scientists Photo Karen Westphal In response to the 2010 Gulf oil disaster the Audubon Coastal Bird Survey ACBS was established as a Gulf wide citizen science survey of waterbirds and shorebirds across the impact zone and beyond Surveys help supply scientists with better data to track population trends and other information such as where birds go and challenges they encounter Armed with more data conservationists can more effectively target restoration projects environmental policies and other efforts to deliberately provide good outcomes for birds And ultimately those outcomes can help to reverse population declines At Audubon volunteers have always been critical to achieving conservation goals on a scale that would not be possible with staff and scientists alone With so many online resources it s easy for citizen scientists to get information about how they can get involved to connect with other volunteers and to report their findings online As the full extent of the Gulf oil disaster continues to reveal itself we still need people asking how they can help The Gulf oil disaster exacerbated habitat loss that Gulf shores were already experiencing especially in Louisiana Coastal restoration is a top priority and ACBS helps us understand how habitat changes affect our avian friends There are 100 million birds that nest feed and travel through the Mississippi River Delta each year and the delta is still an Important Bird Area Unfortunately it s also still in danger due to several ongoing major ecological disasters Roseate Spoonbill Photo Karen Westphal There are many other citizen science initiatives such as Audubon s Christmas Bird Count the Great Backyard Bird Count as well as bioblitz events bird banding events and much more Please register to help with ACBS if you live near any Gulf shores but if not find another way to help where you live Gulf coast resident birds were not the only ones affected in 2010 many migratory bird species were exposed to toxic chemicals as they traveled through the Gulf that spring and fall Wherever you live birds face an increasing number of threats and disturbances To get involved in Louisiana email Louisiana Audubon org To learn more about how you can help outside of Louisiana visit Audubon org No Comments BP s Sleight of Hand April 8 2015 Posted by lbourg in 5 Years Later Birds BP Oil Disaster Reports Science Wildlife Cat Island 2010 and 2015 NWF photo This post has been cross posted from an article originally published on the National Audubon Society s website By Melanie Driscoll Director of Bird Conservation Gulf Coast Conservation Mississippi Flyway Erik Johnson Director of Bird Conservation Audubon Louisiana A BP authored report claiming that the Gulf has recovered is inaccurate and insulting here s why Nearly five years after the largest accidental marine oil spill in U S history BP is doing its best to convince the public that the 4 9 1 million barrels of oil that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico have done no lasting damage That s the message found in The Gulf of Mexico Environmental Recovery and Restoration report the company released three weeks ago Based on what the report does present it s obvious that BP chose to ignore recent research that shows the ongoing impact of the oil spill particularly on birds pp 15 17 of report That BP ignores peer reviewed science is nothing new they have been denying culpability and the validity of peer reviewed published research since the spill itself Meanwhile their own conclusions lack peer review and they have not released their methodology Because of this lack of transparency BP has made claims that are impossible to refute or verify One of the government agencies responsible for monitoring the Gulf health following the oil spill the NOAA Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program is expected to hold itself to a high standard of independent scientific peer review as it completes its Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA While we await the NRDA studies to be completed and released BP has flaunted such professional standards in its allusions to NRDA findings that cannot be verified at this stage The trustees of NRDA themselves called BP s recent report inappropriate as well as premature Along with others in the scientific community the National Audubon Society rejects BP s claims While their report leaves much to criticize here are its five main flaws Their conclusions are not credible given lack of peer review questionable methodology and premature conclusions They claim search teams likely found 97 percent of large birds and 78 percent of small birds These numbers are inconceivable to any researcher or birder who has looked for birds on a beach It stands to reason that a detection rate of 97

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  • BP Oil Disaster | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Louisiana funded by early Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds This project will restore approximately 600 acres of beach dune and marsh habitat It is part of the larger Barataria Basin Barrier Shoreline restoration project which will rebuild the eroding barrier islands that separate the ecologically and economically important Barataria Bay estuary from the Gulf of Mexico Shell Island West Photo by Jacques Hebert Restoring estuaries like Barataria Bay are key to improving the health of the Gulf of Mexico Barrier islands serve as a first line of defense protecting coastal communities from hurricanes and tropical storms They also form protected areas where freshwater from rivers can mix with the saltier waters of the Gulf creating nursery areas for many species of wildlife These protected areas contain a variety of habitats such as marshes or oyster reefs that are vital for many different species Therefore the Shell Island West project will benefit fish and wildlife that use the barrier island and its beach as well as the marsh on its protected side But sadly in many cases barrier islands like the Shell Island West are eroding rapidly leaving both people and wildlife vulnerable For our long term protection we need to rebuild these critical barrier islands while restoring important habitats like wetlands through sediment diversions and marsh creation Creating a more natural connection between the Mississippi River and Barataria Bay by building controlled sediment diversions will rebuild and restore wetlands and it will make projects like the marsh creation and barrier island restoration at Shell Island West more sustainable in the long run No Comments Oil Spill Anniversary Spotlights Opportunity for Largest Restoration Effort in American History Posted by Emily McCalla in BP Oil Disaster Media Resources FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact Emily Guidry Schatzel National Wildlife Federation 225 253 9781 schatzele nwf org Jacques Hebert National Audubon Society 504 264 6849 jhebert audubon org Elizabeth Van Cleve Environmental Defense Fund 202 553 2543 evancleve edf org Rachel Guillory Ocean Conservancy 504 208 5816 rguillory oceanconservancy org Andrew Blejwas The Nature Conservancy 617 785 7047 ablejwas tnc org OIL SPILL ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHTS OPPORTUNITY FOR LARGEST RESTORATION EFFORT IN AMERICAN HISTORY Washington DC April 20 2016 Today marks the sixth anniversary of the Gulf oil disaster which killed 11 men and began an oil spill that would dump more than 3 19 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico Earlier this month U S District Judge Carl Barbier finalized the historic 20 8 billion settlement with BP the largest environmental settlement in U S history for the massive damages caused by the spill Groups working on Gulf restoration including Environmental Defense Fund the National Wildlife Federation National Audubon Society Ocean Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy issued the following statement The opportunity to begin the biggest environmental restoration effort in American history is now a groundbreaking reality for the Gulf following the finalization of the settlement with BP In the aftermath of the spill elected officials state and federal agencies and residents across the Gulf worked together as never before to ensure passage of the RESTORE Act to benefit the ecosystems and communities of the region We are eager to continue this work with both state and federal leaders to quickly update the RESTORE Act Comprehensive Plan and advance restoration work Restoring the Gulf wholly and correctly and sooner rather than later means that we re fast tracking the region s resilience and protecting the people wildlife and jobs across the Gulf for the benefit of the entire nation No Comments 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 all goes well this island should be restored by the end of 2018 And with that almost the entire barrier island chain between Barataria Pass and Sandy Point will have been restored We re only getting started The road to recovery for Louisiana communities and ecosystems will be long But in many respects we re well on our way Barrier islands are being restored the 20 8 billion BP settlement has been approved and the RESTORE Council has finalized its first list of funded projects Louisiana already has a plan to restore its coast via the 2012 Coastal Master Plan and because of the BP and Transocean settlements the state will have over 8 billion to spend on coastal restoration over the next 15 years Six years after the spill there is still work to do but we are seeing real progress As Senior Restoration Project Analyst Estelle Robichaux advocates for the implementation of science based restoration projects and programs in coastal Louisiana Estelle leads the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Coalition s project related efforts including science based decision making processes project implementation and related research Estelle s work also focuses on science communication and monitoring the development of scientific and research programs related to coastal Louisiana in the wake of the BP oil disaster No Comments Six Years after the Oil Disaster Stay the Course on Restoration Posted by Emily McCalla in BP Oil Disaster FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact Emily Guidry Schatzel National Wildlife Federation 225 253 9781 schatzele nwf org Jacques Hebert National Audubon Society 504 264 6849 jhebert audubon org Elizabeth Van Cleve Environmental Defense Fund 202 553 2543 evancleve edf org Jimmy Frederick Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana 225 317 2046 jimmy frederick crcl org John Lopez Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation 504 421 7348 jlopez saveourlake org Six Years after the Oil Disaster Stay the Course on Restoration With BP Settlement Finalized Time to Put Funds to Work Restoring Louisiana s Coast New Orleans LA April 19 2016 Tomorrow marks six years since the BP Deepwater Horizon rig exploded killing 11 men and spewing more than 3 19 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico Earlier this month U S District Judge Carl Barbier finalized the historic 20 8 billion settlement with BP the largest environmental settlement in U S history for the massive damages caused by the spill Louisiana is poised to receive nearly 8 billion over the next 15 years from the settlement or about half a billion dollars per year which it will use to advance the largest environmental restoration program in the state s history for the benefit of the region and nation As we remember April 20 2010 leading national and local conservation organizations working on Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast restoration Environmental Defense Fund National Audubon Society National Wildlife Federation Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation released the following statement Six years after the Gulf oil disaster our region is embarking on the largest environmental restoration program of our time How these unprecedented funds are spent affects all of us and we must remain vigilant to make sure decision makers invest in the best and most powerful ecosystem restoration projects We must ensure this funding is used effectively and for its intended purpose to restore the Gulf Coast for the people industries and wildlife that depend on it In Louisiana the stage is set for continued progress on restoring the coast With science based restoration plans in place and now dedicated funding to help pay for them we can make great strides toward countering our land loss crisis In the last decade Louisiana has already invested billions of dollars from early settlement money and other funding on restoring the coast including improving more than 27 000 acres of coastal habitat and constructing 45 miles of barrier islands and berms We applaud Governor Edwards for his recent commitments to safeguard coastal funds for coastal restoration and protection Moving forward we must continue to hold our leaders accountable and ensure this money is not used for anything but its intended purpose The future of Louisiana depends on a sustainable restored coast Louisiana has made remarkable advancements since the Gulf oil disaster six years ago We must make sure our decision makers continue to prioritize comprehensive restoration and safeguard coastal funding we may only have this chance to get it right No Comments BP Oil Spill Fines Clear Way for Largest Restoration Effort in U S History April 4 2016 Posted by Emily McCalla in BP Oil Disaster Federal Policy Media Resources RESTORE Act FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact Emily Guidry Schatzel National Wildlife Federation 225 253 9781 schatzele nwf org Jacques Hebert National Audubon Society 504 264 6849 jhebert audubon org Elizabeth Van Cleve Environmental Defense Fund 202 553 2543 evancleve edf org Rachel Guillory Ocean Conservancy 504 208 5816 rguillory oceanconservancy org Andrew Blejwas The Nature Conservancy 617 785 7047 ablejwas tnc org BP Oil Spill Fines Clear Way for Largest Restoration Effort in U S History State and federal leaders have once in a lifetime window to make good on promises NEW ORLEANS April 4 2016 Groups working on Gulf restoration lauded news today of the signing of the consent decree between the Department of Justice and BP The agreement is the final step to settling BP s penalties for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster Groups including Environmental Defense Fund National Wildlife Federation National Audubon Society Ocean Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy released the following statement Today s approval by Judge Carl Barbier means that billions of dollars for the largest environmental restoration effort in American history can finally be put to work Funding under the provisions of the RESTORE Act and for natural resource damages will now be guaranteed for the next 17 years This is a unique opportunity for state and federal agencies to work together toward a more resilient Gulf of Mexico If done right investment in the Gulf can have lasting benefits for the region and the nation Now is a time for big thinking across funding streams This is a defining moment for the RESTORE Council and Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees National Fish and Wildlife Foundation leaders and others to all pull together and make good on years of promises for Gulf Coast restoration and resilience No Comments Gulf Restoration Groups Call on Oil Spill Trustees to Run Open Process February 23 2016 Posted by Emily McCalla in BP Oil Disaster coastal restoration Federal Policy Media Resources Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact Emily Guidry Schatzel National Wildlife Federation 225 253 9781 schatzele nwf org Jacques Hebert National Audubon Society 504 264 6849 jhebert audubon org Elizabeth Van Cleve Environmental Defense Fund 202 553 2543 evancleve edf org Rachel Guillory Ocean Conservancy 504 208 5816 rguillory oceanconservancy org Andrew Blejwas The Nature Conservancy 617 785 7047 ablejwas tnc org Gulf Restoration Groups Call on Oil Spill Trustees to Run Open Process Standard Operating Procedures for Spending 7 1 Billion in Funding Should Engage Public New Orleans February 23 2016 Gulf restoration advocates are calling on federal agencies to increase transparency and public feedback opportunities as the agencies implement a 7 billion restoration program over the next 15 years These renewed calls for openness come in response to the release of the Final Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan which describes how the BP Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees will plan for administer and implement restoration efforts Groups including Environmental Defense Fund National Wildlife Federation National Audubon Society Ocean Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy issued the following statement The Trustees are about to embark on the biggest restoration program in American history The choices they make now will have repercussions for Gulf ecosystems and communities over the next decade and a half and potentially for generations to follow As the Trustees develop their Standard Operating Procedures a key element in the design of this program we hope they will outline additional opportunities for the public to provide meaningful feedback throughout the restoration process A lot can change in 5 10 and 15 years and the people who live and work in the Gulf should have regular opportunities to engage in this process The Trustees have done a tremendous amount of work and we re grateful for their efforts We were pleased to see the Trustees commit to several measures for coordination across state lines and across funding streams which will enable more successful restoration We look forward to working with the Trustees to make sure the important work of Gulf restoration gets done right No Comments 52 2 million in oil spill funds approved for Louisiana coastal restoration December 15 2015 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2012 Coastal Master Plan BP Oil Disaster coastal restoration Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA Restoration Projects RESTORE Act By Elizabeth Weiner Senior Policy Manager Environmental Defense Fund Penny Pritzker Secretary of Commerce and Chair of the RESTORE Council Dec 9 2015 Credit Robert Smith Wildlife Mississippi Last week the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration RESTORE Council approved its first Funded Priorities List FPL of projects and programs to fund with civil penalties available from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Transocean settlement This is an important step forward for the entire Gulf Coast that is still recovering from the spill In particular for the Mississippi River Delta the FPL demonstrates both the state of Louisiana s commitment to funding Coastal Master Plan projects with RESTORE dollars and progress in implementing the master plan Louisiana submitted five project proposals all of which are projects from the Coastal Master Plan While these projects are still in planning phases they represent critical near term opportunities to keep the Mississippi River Delta on its path to recovery and sustainability The Louisiana master plan projects receiving funding include Golden Triangle Marsh Creation Project 4 3 million planning Mississippi River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp Project 14 2 million planning Biloxi Marsh Living Shoreline Project 3 2 million planning West Grand Terre Beach Nourishment and Stabilization Project 7 3 million planning Lowermost Mississippi River Management Program 9 3 million planning Two additional projects Jean Lafitte Canal Backfilling 8 7 million implementation and Bayou Dularge Ridge Marsh and Hydrologic Restoration 5 2 million planning are also located in Louisiana and were included in the Council s FPL These two projects submitted for funding by federal members of the RESTORE Council are complementary to and consistent with the Coastal Master Plan and will directly benefit coastal Louisiana The RESTORE Council meeting in Biloxi Miss Dec 9 2015 Credit Robert Smith Wildlife Mississippi The finalization of this FPL comes in follow up to positive progress made through other Gulf oil spill funding streams the National Fish and Wildlife Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund created by criminal plea agreements with multiple responsible parties and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration NRDA process Now that BP s settlement of civil penalties and responsibilities under NRDA is pending both the RESTORE Council and the NRDA Trustee Council will be able to make even more progress with an eye toward large scale restoration For the RESTORE Council the next step will be an update to its Initial Comprehensive Plan to improve decision making project selection and to consider the projects planned and funded through the other oil spill funding streams For the NRDA Trustees their next step will be considering public comments and finalizing the draft Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan No Comments RESTORE Council Votes to Approve Priority List of Gulf Restoration Projects for Funding

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/category/bp-oil-disaster/ (2016-05-01)
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