Estuaries 102: Louisiana Estuaries & Restoration

09.23.2016 | Posted by

This is part two of our National Estuaries Week blog! See part one here. Learn more about events in your area and other ways to get involved at www.estuaries.org/national-estuaries-week. There are lots of wetlands in the United States – more than 110 million acres! With so many wetlands, why do we focus so much on coastal wetlands and estuaries? In our previous post, we discussed how important estuaries are to wildlife and humans, despite the fact that estuarine and marine wetlands …

Reconnecting the Delta: How Increased Mud Supply Can Improve Sediment Diversions

Jordan Davis, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Science Intern, Environmental Defense Fund Rising sea level and anthropogenic sediment loss is a combination affecting sustainability of deltaic ecosystems. Around the world, major deltas have been experiencing a 44% decline in sediment supply since the 1950s due to construction of dams and reservoirs, including the Mississippi River Delta. A recent journal article, published in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, examined the role of fine-grained sediments in deltaic restoration. The authors found that the …

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LPBF Launches Hydrocoast Maps to Monitor Conditions in Barataria Basin

06.09.2016 | Posted by Theryn Henkel, Assistant Director of Coastal Sustainability Program, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation

Due to popular demand, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation has created Hydrocoast Maps for Barataria Basin.  As it has done in neighboring Pontchartrain Basin, the maps for the Barataria Basin will monitor the salinity, freshwater input, weather and fisheries in order to gain a deeper understanding of estuarine dynamics, changes to the basin over time and to provide a baseline to monitor future changes as restoration projects are completed. Hydrocoast Maps provide a snapshot of the conditions of the estuary, …

Tracking Fish with Acoustic Telemetry—Implementation of an Exciting Technology in Lake Pontchartrain

05.31.2016 | Posted by Nic Dixon, Outreach Associate, National Audubon Society

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and many other fisheries organizations and scientists worldwide have traditionally used fish tags to keep track of fish populations. You may have even applied these simple dart-tipped plastic tags to a fish yourself. Standard fish tagging efforts (in part) identify where the fish was originally captured, Point A, and then where the fish was recaptured, Point Z. But there is not a clear picture of where these fish were for points B, …

The Bonnet Carré Provides Plenty of Recreational Opportunities

05.02.2016 | Posted by Alisha Renfro, Coastal Scientist, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program, National Wildlife Federation

Originally posted on Vanishing Paradise. See original post here. In January of this year, high water on the lower Mississippi River prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to open of the Bonnet Carré Spillway for the 11th time in its 85-year history. The Bonnet Carré Spillway doesn’t just help lower water levels pressing against the flood protection levees, it’s also a thriving wilderness area that benefits from the periodic opening of the spillway structure and the sediment and fresh …

What Can the 1927 Flood Teach Us About Coastal Restoration?

02.02.2016 | Posted by Natalie Peyronnin Snider, Senior Director, Coastal Resilience, Environmental Defense Fund

During the historic 1927 flood, a portion of the Mississippi River levee south of New Orleans was dynamited to lower the water level and prevent catastrophic flooding – seen in much of the Mississippi River Basin – from occurring in the city. This explosion created a 2-kilometer wide crevasse, which redirected water into nearby Breton Sound. Nearly 90 years later, scientists have completed measurements in the upper Breton Sound basin to quantify the sediment deposition in the 50-square-mile crevasse splay …

Mississippi River’s High Water Brings (Literally) Tons of Needed Sediment to Louisiana

01.20.2016 | Posted by Alisha Renfro, Coastal Scientist, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program, National Wildlife Federation

This is the second in a series of blog posts focusing on the recent opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway in response to the Mississippi River high-water event. See the first post on the history of the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) system here.  The current high-water event on the Mississippi River is sending more than one million cubic feet of water per second down the lower Mississippi River, carrying with it sediment that is an essential ingredient to restoring Louisiana’s …

Heavy Rainfall Activates Early Flood Fight on Lower Mississippi River

01.08.2016 | Posted by Alisha Renfro, Coastal Scientist, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program, National Wildlife Federation

As the Mississippi River high water event continues, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will soon open the Bonnet Carré Spillway, and potentially the Morganza Floodway, to help relieve pressure on river levees and prevent catastrophic flooding. During high-water events like this one, the river contains more water and carries more sediment than usual. Without restoration projects like sediment diversions in place to capture sediment, much of this essential component for restoring our coast is lost. In the future, when …

Help Count Birds for Science during Audubon’s Annual Christmas Bird Count

12.11.2015 | By Help Count Birds for Science during Audubon’s Annual Christmas Bird Count

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. “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 …

New sediment counter shows amount of uncaptured sediment passing through LA every second

12.02.2015 | Posted by Alisha Renfro, Coastal Scientist, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program, National Wildlife Federation

There’s less sediment moving down the Mississippi River than there used to be. Much of that missing material is trapped behind dams built upriver of Louisiana. Despite the reduction in sediment it carries, the Mississippi is still mighty with approximately 90 million tons of sediment passing the city of Belle Chasse, La. each year1. Tragically, much of that mud and sand will be carried past the sediment-starved wetlands and barrier islands of the delta – where it could have great …

Expert Diversion Panel: State has all information needed to make decision on advancing diversions

10.01.2015 | By Expert Diversion Panel: State has all information needed to make decision on advancing diversions

By: Alisha Renfro, Staff Scientist, Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, National Wildlife Federation Sediment diversions are restoration projects that carry sediment and water from the river through a gated structure on the levee into nearby basins, mimicking the way the Mississippi River once built much of southeast Louisiana. This type of project was identified in the 2012 Coastal Master Plan as a vital tool for far-reaching and long-lasting restoration of our coastal wetlands. Four sediment diversion projects from the …

New report quantifies storm reduction benefits of natural infrastructure and nature-based measures

09.29.2015 | By New report quantifies storm reduction benefits of natural infrastructure and nature-based measures

By Shannon Cunniff, Deputy Director for Water, Environmental Defense Fund Coastal zones are the most densely populated areas in the world. In the U.S., they generate more than 42 percent of the nation’s total economic output. These coastal communities, cities and infrastructure are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Rising seas and increased storms, as well as ongoing coastal development, have stripped these natural environments of their innate resilience to storms and flooding, leaving coastlines and the …

It's a Marathon, not a sprint: Small steps build lasting momentum for comprehensive restoration

09.23.2015 | By It's a Marathon, not a sprint: Small steps build lasting momentum for comprehensive restoration

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 parts one and two for more information on previous plans. By the early 1990s, Louisiana’s coastal land loss crisis had been studied and documented for more than two decades. Successful establishment of the state-level Office of Coastal Restoration and Management and the Wetlands Trust Fund …

Bold Recommendations & Early Citizen Support for Diversions as a Key to Coastal Restoration

09.16.2015 | By Bold Recommendations & Early Citizen Support for Diversions as a Key to Coastal Restoration

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 part one for a look back to 1973. In 1988, the Coalition to Restoration Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) released a plan titled Coastal Louisiana: Here today and gone tomorrow? The plan, which was a joint effort by stakeholders and scientists, focuses on the Mississippi River Delta …

The History of Coastal Restoration in Louisiana: More than 40 years of planning

08.17.2015 | By The History of Coastal Restoration in Louisiana: More than 40 years of planning

By Estelle Robichaux, Restoration Project Analyst, Environmental Defense Fund and Gaby Garcia, Science Intern, Environmental Defense Fund The damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall in Louisiana’s bird’s foot delta nearly 10 years ago, brought regional and national attention to the state’s dramatic and ongoing coastal land loss crisis. But this crisis, as well as innovative and large-scale solutions to reverse wetland loss, had been studied, discussed and planned by scientists and decision-makers for decades. In a series of …