Delta Dispatches: Innovations in Restoration

Sediment Diversion Operations & Oyster Shell Recycling

Welcome to the latest episode of Delta Dispatches with hosts Jacques Hebert & Simone Maloz. On today’s show Natalie Peyronnin, Director of Science Policy and Mississippi River Delta Restoration at the Environmental Defense Fund, speaks to Jacques about sediment diversions operations.

In the second half the show, Simone has Jimmy Frederick, Communications Director for CRCL on to speak about their exciting oyster shell recycling project. Listen Now the 2017 Coastal Master Plan becomes law and the economic case for recovery.

Below is a transcript of this week's Delta Dispatches Podcast. Listen to the full recording or subscribe to our feed in iTunes and Google Play.

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Show Transcript

Jacques: Hello. This is Jacques Hebert and you're listening to Delta Dispatchers, where we're discussing Louisiana's coast. It's people, wildlife and jobs, and why restoring it matters.

Simone: Hey Jacques.

Jacques: Hey Simone. How are you?

Simone: This is Simone Theriot Maloz from Restore or Retreat. I'm doing good. How was your week?

Jacques: It was good. I mean it's been busy. I know last Friday, you and I went on our field trip, Fourchon Friday, down on Port Fourchon with Joni Tuck. We saw Elmer’s island. We had some reporters with us as well. We're seeing the largest restoration project completed to date.

Simone: I have not been down there since it its final completion. And I've been down there dozens and dozens of times, and Jacques, it was so beautiful. It was so nice to see it at its final place and I look forward to so many more projects like that on the ground. So we were in Baton Rouge yesterday too.

Jacques: Yeah, we had Coastal Day at the legislature. Scott Kirkpatrick, who was our guest last week because Builders Coalition helped put that on, and there are a lot of groups, you know industry groups, as well as NGOs there, showcasing support for Coastal Restoration and the 2017 Coastal Master Plan.

The governor spoke. Chairman Johnny Bradberry spoke. Overall it was a really wonderful day.

Simone: Yeah it was a great day to kind of see all of this come together for Coastal to talk about the importance of the master plan. Talk about the importance of the annual plan. But also just talk about the sense of urgency that still surrounds our issues here.

So who are you talking to you today?

Jacques: Well today we've got a little bit of a hodgepodge show. But the two very important guests and topics that we've been wanting to cover. So first, I'm speaking with Natalie Peyronnin, who is Director of Science Policy with Environmental Defense Fund. And Natalie is a wealth of knowledge, or has a wealth of knowledge, on a lot of different topics.

But we're talking sediment diversion operations today, which is a hugely important topic and a great follow-up to an earlier show, when we had Rudy Simoneaux and Brad Barr on, to discuss diversions.

Simone: Yeah, and I'm talking to Jimmy Frederick with Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. If you remember, we cut Jimmy off one day. We wanted to be sure to have him back on the show to talk about his work at the Coalition. Talk about some of the great things they're doing. They have this really neat oyster recycling program involving some of the restaurants here in New Orleans. So we wanted to talk to him a little bit about that program and some of their work.

So I guess this is where we leave each other.

Jacques: Yes, I will get started with Natalie and I'll see you at the end of the show.

Simone: Great. Bye Jacques.

Jacques: All right. So, joining us now, we have Natalie Peyronnin, Director of Science Policy with Environmental Defense Fund. Natalie, how are you?

Natalie: I'm great Jacques. How are you?

Jacques: I'm doing well. So I know we're going to get into the topic of sediment diversion operations today. But first, I wanted to ask, I know back in 2012 you were actually with the Coastal Protection Restoration Authority working on the master plan. So what is it like to be on this side for the 2017 Coastal Master Plan?

Natalie: I have to say, I miss working on the guts of the master plan. And working alongside the people at CPRA. They're passionate, they're dedicated, and they spend hours and hours outside of regular work hours, putting together this master plan. And they have such a challenge to take such an enormous issue and develop a plan for our future. And so I miss working alongside those people that just show so much passion and dedication.

Jacques: Yeah, but you're not too far from it. I mean with your work through Environmental Defense Fund and Restore the Mississippi River Delta, you and your team do a lot to kind of analyze the projects, as well as inform the conversation around the master plan. So tell us a little bit about your role in Environmental Defense Fund and kind of what you do now.

Natalie: A lot of what I work on, is helping to support the science of coastal restoration and moving us forward. We all need to work together to ensure that we can get coastal restoration implemented and on the ground. And there's still a lot of science questions that need to be answered to ensure that we have the sustainable future that we all want. So a lot of my work revolves around answering some of those tough science questions.

Jacques: Yeah, and speaking of tough science questions, one that is hugely important is around how a sediment diversion will be operated. So we've talked about sediment diversions in the past on this show, how crucial they are to securing a future for our region, and utilizing the power and resources of the Mississippi River. But a lot of thought had to have been put into, at least publicly, how a sediment diversion will be operated once constructed. And that's an effort that you led up recently, with a group of scientists. So tell us a little bit about that and why you can be in the sediment diversion expert working group.

Natalie: Sure, so as you've covered in your previous Delta Dispatches, we have, obviously know the importance of sediment diversions to restoring our coast and building sustainability. But we should operate a sediment diversion. The ecosystem and the communities that rely on that ecosystem, will have to go through changes. And some of those changes could happen fairly rapidly. And so there's a lot of legitimate concerns with then, stakeholder groups, about how the changes would occur? Where they would occur? And it all depends on operations.

So various operations will have various levels of impact and change that would occur within the environment. So what we wanted to do was kind of look across all of the different spectrums of the environment. So we brought together 12 core members and 42 additional experts over an eight-month process, to kind of evaluate the changes that we could anticipate in the environment based on various operations strategy.

And we looked from, everything from how water moves around the system, to how sediment and land building would occur, to what that would mean to fish and wildlife species. As well as looking at the social impact and the economic impact of that. And the legal and policy ramifications of a sediment diversion. And so we had a very diverse group of experts, all with great Louisiana backgrounds. Decades and decades of research in Louisiana coastal area. And we went through this process to try and provide some recommendations to the state, as they start to develop their operations strategy.

Jacques: Yeah, and I know that process was incredibly exhaustive, and you all met for months on end, and really dug into a lot of the science that has been published. And even some that hasn't fully been released. In terms of what your recommendations were. What were some of the key findings? Can you give us kind of the high level of what that report found, and what you recommended?

Natalie: Sure. So one of the initial things that we talked about in all our meetings, thinking about sediment and water movement, and fish and wildlife, is how do you initially operate a diversion? So you can build the structure into the levee and have a capacity of 75,000 cubic feet per second, which is a substantial amount of water moving through the system. The system is not adapted to that, and so you can't operate on day one at full capacity. So a lot of what we talked about initially, was how do we start operating this in years zero to five?

And it's a gradual opening of this, so that you can allow the system to develop a channel network that would move the water through the system. Move the sediment around the wetlands. Make sure that water levels weren't getting too high because increased water level can cause wetlands loss. And obviously can increase flood risk to adjacent communities.

It's also important for the vegetation and for the fish and wildlife that they're not shocked into a changing system. The degradation of Louisiana's coast has happened gradually over a hundred years. We're looking to change the system fairly rapidly back to a healthy system. But we do have to take into account that vegetation is established, fish and wildlife species are established, in certain areas. And we want to gradually change that dynamic, and move them around, and allow them to still organize around some new conditions out in the wetlands.

Jacques: Right, and I know there were a lot of, some key findings about when you open the diversion? What time of year? When you can get the most sediment? Now I really want to get into that in the next segment. But for now, if folks want to actually read the recommendations and find the report, they can go online to mississippiriverdelta.org/diversionopsreport and learn more.

We here with Natalie Peyronnin, Director of Science Policy with Environmental Defense Fund, and you're listening a Delta Dispatches. We'll be right back after the break.


Jacques: Hello, you're listening to Delta Dispatches. This is Jacques Hebert and I'm here with Natalie Peyronnin, Director of Science Policy for Environmental Defense Fund. So Natalie, as you know, Simone and I like to keep it fun, in addition to having serious conversations. So in that vein, I'd like to ask you a question. What is your favorite karaoke song?

Natalie: Wow, that is a tough one. Jacques I believe we did karaoke together one night. Do you remember what I sang?

Jacques: That's right. It's a trick question. I would say I was the backup dancer. And the song was Proud Mary.

Simone: Well good, that could be your answer Natalie.

Natalie: That is definitely my answer.

Jacques: That's a great song. All right, well speaking of rolling on the river, we want to get back onto the topic at hand, which is sediment diversion operations. So before the break, Natalie you were talking about this really impressive undertaking that you led around bringing some of the leading coastal scientists together over the course of nine months. Answer the question, how do you operate a sediment diversion to maximize land building, while considering other effects to the ecosystem? We were talking about some of the findings, but in terms of real life applications, what does that look like? What are some of the recommendations? And some of the main findings that someone like CPRA might take, when they go to operate one of these diversions?

Natalie: Yeah, one of the interesting things that came out as we were going through this process, was the importance and the ability to operate in the winter, and the advantages that it has. So we kind of typically thought of operating a diversion in the spring, during the spring flood. But there's actually a lot of floods, a lot of peaks in the river that happen, during the winter. These have a lot of advantages.

So some of the advantages it has is that the first peak in the winter will carry the greatest concentration of sediment. And so you can actually get more sediment to the amount of water that you are discharging from the structure. In addition, there's cold fronts that happen during the winter. And what those cold fronts will do, is take sediment, that maybe the sediment is deposited on open water bottoms or on a bay bottom. But the cold fronts will take that sediment, lift it back up into the water column, deposited it onto the marsh surface. So you get not only the direct input of sediment onto the marsh surface from the diversion, but this kind of re-suspension and movement of sediment around and back up onto the marsh surface.

But then one of the other things, is that fish and wildlife species are in a more dormant state, as well as vegetation, during the winter months. And they can handle lower salinities when the water is colder. And so as you put freshwater into the system, the fish and wildlife species, you can reduce or eliminate these impacts that they may have from the diversion during those months.

And so by thinking about winter operations, we were really able to see that there's a real advantage to taking as much of the operations in the winter as possible. And then maintaining your spring operations, and your spring and summer operations, when the river is really high. When the river is peaking at its highest and carrying the most total amount of sediment. And we can take advantage of that, but we could do it over shorter time frames, so that you have less impact on the vegetation. You have less concerns about water levels and flood risk. And you have less concerns about the effects that you may have on various fish and wildlife species.

So by looking at these timing issues, we can really start to develop an operations strategy, that maximizes as much as possible the amount of land we can build out there and the amount of wetlands that we can sustain, that are already existing. While also trying to balance these fish and wildlife species need … Some estuary recovery, they need to be in some sort of salinity during parts of their lifecycle, to maintain themselves with an estuary.

Jacques: Right and I think, I mean those are really key finding cause there was sort of a misconception amongst some in the public, that these diversions would just be operated and open year-round. And when in fact, that may not be the most strategic way to build and maintain land. And it could have detrimental effects to the ecosystem.

I know you did a lot of outreach around these recommendations, both to various state and federal agencies, as well as community members and stakeholder groups like fisheries groups. So what were some of the reactions that you received? I guess let's start with some of the agencies. But I also really want to hear about some of the fishing groups and what their reactions were.

Natalie: I think, across the board, whether we're talking about agencies, our stakeholder groups, our parish government, and others, I think across-the-board people have been ready to have this conversation. And to talk about the intricacies of these operations and how they would occur. And so it was a very positive feedback. I think that prior to this effort, a lot of our operations were really at a high-level planning. And so they were very standardized and simplified and kind of like you said, operating at very large, for a very long time, in the calendar year.

When in reality, I mean our motto that we started off with, with every meeting, was operations for modeling is not operations in the real world. And so I think from a stakeholder's standpoint, from an agency's standpoint, people were ready to start talking about how would this actually work in the real world? How would we actually balance all of these different parts of the ecosystem and the community that relies on the ecosystem, and lives off the ecosystem, how would we start to balance all of this?

And so I think everybody was really open to it. They may not agree with every single recommendation we made, but they were very open to that this is the discussion that they wanted to have. And this is a discussion that they want to see continue with the state as they advance diversions to implementation.

Jacques: Right, and I know, I mean a huge part of the report is not just how do you operate a diversion, but also how do you communicate around operations? And obviously that has some significant impact and interest to local communities, be they fishing communities, or just folks that live in the area who have an interest in those operations. So can you talk a little bit about some of the recommendations that the report provided, regarding communications and community engagement.

Natalie: Sure, so I think one of the keys that came out of the working group, was really we continually talk about expectation management. And that's really what it is, is allowing stakeholders to understand what's coming. And if they have clear expectations of what the changes will be, what the benefits will be, how the ecosystem will function in the future, and those things are transparent and communicated clearly, they have that clear expectation, then they can adjust whether it's their livelihood or where they like to just go fish for the weekend, they can adjust to that.

I think the issue comes then a lot when there's not clear communication of what to expect when a project goes online.  So we really talked a lot about having that expectation management, communicating and transparency with affected parties, and then governing fairly, and having a government structure. The operation isn't going to be the same on day one, as it is on year ten. And it's going to change every year. The river is going to flow differently.

So every year, it's going to be a little different and so having some way to govern where you're taking in feedback from stakeholders, from affected parties, from agencies, that allow you to take that information and to make decisions about how to operate the diversion in the next year.

So you can have these overall strategies of how you think you might operate it, but every year is going to be different because the rivers can flow differently every year. The basin conditions will be different every year.  And so, there is a lot of flexibility that has to be built into that. The important part is that there's communication of what the operation strategy is being put in place. And that there's feedback for stakeholders to give input into how the diversion is going to be operated.

Jacques: Right. So monitoring and communications are key. Well Natalie, that is all the time we have for today. I hope we can have you back on soon. As a reminder for folks who want to go and read more about the report, of the subject diversion operations working group, you can go online mississippiriverdelta.org/diversion-ops-report.

Natalie thank you so much for being on the show today.

Natalie: Thank you Jacques.

Jacques: Yep, talk to you later. Bye.


Simone: Hi, welcome back to Delta Dispatchers, this is Simone Maloz with Restore Or Retreat. I'm lucky enough to have on the line with me, Jimmy Frederick. Jimmy is the Communications Director at the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. He leads the communications team for CRCL and joined CRCL in 2014, after a 20-year career within public relations, governmental affairs, and local and regional media. He served as a Public Relations Manager for Cox Communication, earning five national awards, Jimmy, go you, for community affairs initiatives. He also served as the Executive Producer, Program Manager, Production Manager, General does everything, for Cox Communication's regional television channel. He's a native of Baton Rouge, and earned a B.A. in journalism and marketing from Northwestern State University. So, Jimmy had some good times at Natchitoches?

Jimmy: I loved Natchitoches. Natchitoches was a great place to go to school.

Simone: My husband went to Louisiana schools, so he got that college experience a little bit ahead of time. So I'm so glad that you came back for us Jimmy. We had you on a couple of weeks ago, right before your banquet.

Jimmy: Right before your banquet.

Simone: My banquet, yes.

Jimmy: Your banquet, as a Coastal Stewardship Award winner. You get to claim that.

Simone: Yes, yes. My award is proudly displayed in my office. Many people compliment it. It's a beautiful, beautiful award. And thankfully I didn't have to speak, so that made it even better.

But we really want to talk to you about some of the cool things that you all have going on at CRCL. First of all, we talked about this a little bit when you called a couple weeks ago. But why don't you just tell us a little bit about CRCL, how you started, offices, general first date kind of questions.

Jimmy: Yeah, sure. CRCL has been around since 1988, with the oldest, longest-standing coastal restoration organization, state-wide coastal restoration organization. Our mission is to drive bold science-based action to rebuild coastal Louisiana, through outreach, restoration, and advocacy. So it's really a three-pronged approach, but CRCL was talking about coastal restoration long before we had our first master plan. Long before it was really in-vogue. And so, it's in our DNA as an organization to really be a part of coastal restoration. And really pushing and advocating for coastal restoration.

You know, Simone, I know you all talk a lot about sediment diversions, and CRCL was actually calling for sediment diversions in our first report that we put out back in 1989. And it just shows you how long it has taken us to get to a point where we're actually, possibly, maybe, just a few years away from breaking ground on that first big sediment diversion. So, it's been a long haul, and we're in it for the long haul, which is I think we all have to be.

Simone: That's a great way to put it. One of the other award winners for the night, was Rob Gorman. And I think he told me once you signed the original paperwork for CRCL. But you have long-time advocates like Rob Gorman, talking about those issues. And you're right, before it was cool, that was probably, you know, as an LCA was getting developed, and as things were gaining steam.

But you all had some pretty exciting past few months, even year or so. I know that one of the issues you all focus on, is legislate platform, and some policy objectives during the gubernatorial race. You all actually hosted the gubernatorial debate, right? Just on social issues.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Simone: First of its kind. So that-

Jimmy: Yeah it really was. It was an interesting thing for us to do, and it's the first time we'd ever even thought about doing something like that. We had all four major candidates for governor, including of course John Bel Edwards, our current governor, who all advocated for the coast, and all said that sediment diversions are very important. And yesterday, at Coastal day, Governor Edwards certainly reiterated that again. And it's just great to see. And then we had our U.S. Senate debate, which is a first time that we really focused on the national aspect of coastal restoration for Louisiana. Because, you know Simone, I know you guys talk about it all the time, is a fact that Louisiana coastal restoration and protection is so important to us here in Louisiana. But in the final analysis, it's really, really important for the entire country.

And so, it was really neat to kind of bring that legislative aspect to the federal level. And so, we're very pleased with being able to advocate and be a part of that, and not just behind the scenes but also kind of out front a little bit here and there. And it's been an exciting time for all of us.

Simone: And I think that also, like you said, it goes to show that Coastal is a major issue here in the Louisiana. It's a bi-partisan issue. But it's something that even the top leader here in Louisiana, whether it'd be the Governor, or our Senators that represent us in Washington, that they understand it's important. And that they were so well educated on the topics. I had the opportunity to ask one of the questions during the gubernatorial debate. It wasn't like I thought any of them really struggled to find answers. And so that was a good feeling knowing that the top candidates that want to lead our state are fairly aware of the issues. And it just allowed us an opportunity to engage them some more.

So congratulations to CRCL for hosting those and setting that precedent, that coastal is something that needs to be talked about, and it is a campaign issue.

Jimmy: Absolutely, at every level. All the way from the local, to every, every election now, especially in the southern part of Louisiana. And really it needs to be in every election even in the northern part of Louisiana. But I'm kind of almost wishing we had another election coming up, because I really enjoyed putting those on a little bit.

Simone: Oh Jimmy, really?

Jimmy: So we'll just have to wait for a few more years.

Simone: Well, and I think the further momentum goes to show that when we restored the Mississippi River delta, did some of the recent polling, lots of folks said that they would vote for their legislator based on whether or not they supported the master plan. So that goes to help us in our work today.

But not switch gears too much, but you all also have a really great habitat restoration program, as one of the approaches that you all use. Why don't you tell us a little bit more about that? One of the best things that you all do are create opportunities for folks to get involved. So let's hear more about that.

Jimmy: Absolutely. And the Habitat Restoration Program started back in 2000. So we've been doing it for a while and it's certainly evolved over time. But it's an opportunity to get people who normally may not be in the marsh. And a lot of people do hunt and fish and things like that. But they don't really see and understand, and understand that they can do something. We talk about these major construction projects that are gonna cost millions and millions of dollars.

But almost every weekend during the fall and spring and winter, we're getting volunteers out into the marsh whether it'd be reforesting devastated coastal forest that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina or Isaac, or somebody that, or on the beach in Cameron Parish planting dune grass, to make sure that the beach doesn't erode away into the Gulf of Mexico. And those plantings, in and of themselves, are important, but the more important aspect of it I think, it is that it shows people that they can do something really meaningful for our coast. And it's not just talking about these major, major construction projects.

And so, over the course of our 16 years, we've engaged 13,000 different volunteers. We've planted more than three million native plants across the coast. And it's just gratifying to see that people just giving themselves. I mean it's not easy work sometimes. We're really asking people for some physical labor, and we just really never have a problem bringing people, or getting people to give up their time, and be a part of it. And we've got some coming up, so we're excited.

Simone: Yes, so you all do everything from big groups, to just folks who maybe want to spend some time on the weekend, like you said, getting actively involved. What are some of the events that you all have coming up, to me that maybe folks can get involved with? And then if you tell us where to get more information, that would be helpful.

Jimmy: Absolutely. And we have a couple of weekends coming up in May. It's our freshwater bayou planting. It's over in Vermilion Parish, in the middle part of the state. And we're going to be planting some marsh grass in the actual marsh, and it's just going to be an exciting, fun time. It's May 11th thru the 13th. And then we have another, the next we are a couple weekends down the line, May 25th thru the 27th. And we try to get all our plantings in before it gets too hot in the summer, or take a little break during the summer.

So we've got two big weekends coming up. May 11th and 13th, and May 25th thru the 27th. It's easy to find out information. Go right to our own page, which is crcl.org. And you can sign up, and we'll take good care of you. It's a little bit of a drive from New Orleans, but I promise you it's going to be worth it if you get out there and get involved.

Simone: Great Jimmy. I know you have some oyster shell bagging opportunities coming up. When we get back from the break, we want to talk more about your oyster shell recycling program and maybe some of those opportunities coming up then. So we're going to break, but this is Delta Dispatches.


Jacques: All right. Welcome back to Delta Dispatches, this is Simone Maloz, with Restore Or Retreat. I am lucky enough to be joined by Jimmy Frederick, of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. Before the break, we were talking a little bit about the work of the Coalition. About some policy and some legislative initiatives that they have, as well as some habitat restoration.

But right now, we were talking about some volunteer opportunities. Some of those volunteer opportunities revolve around oyster shell bagging, but let's back it up Jimmy. Why don't you talk about that program that you have for oyster shell recycling? What that means to folks and how impactful it's been.

Jimmy: You know, this has been something that has been a long time in coming. And it really has been an idea that has been percolating. In fact, I think your earlier guess Natalie Peyronnin, had the idea many moons ago. So it's just kind of come to fruition about a year-and-a-half, two years ago now. It start in June of 2014, and we got a nice grant from Shell, that helped us get it off the ground. And we have collected more than five million pounds of oyster shell from restaurants around the New Orleans area. And of course the idea is to get it to go state-wide, but some logistical problems and logistical things that we have to figure out. But it has been a wonderful, wonderful program. We say it's a delicious way to give back to Louisiana.

And our real slogan is, once you shuck em', don't just chuck em'. And it's been really neat to see everybody get involved.

Simone: That needs to be a bumper sticker. So you said you started out, you had some support for Shell. That's kind of some of that hard work that's been going on, that's when you said it's like real physical labor sometimes. We have to the stats here that, it says how will the shell be used. This is information right off the CRCL website. 700 tons of our recycled shell will be used to create a living shoreline. The volunteers prep and bag the shell needed, and contractors will deploy that shell along the eroding shoreline.

So there's just some cool ways. People always think about oysters and New Orleans. And so that's a very cool tie-in there. So Jimmy, you have a cool counter on your website too about how many tons collected. Should we fact-check that, or?

Jimmy: It is absolutely accurate.

Jimmy: You know talking about New Orleans loving oysters. Our oyster shell recycling program is the largest in the country. The former number one, was in the Chesapeake Bay Area up in Maryland. They had 246 restaurants in their program. We became the largest in the country with only 12 restaurants. So think about how many oysters New Orleans is actually putting down and it really is a staggering amount.

Simone: So Jimmy, what are some, like which restaurants would we maybe know, that do the recycling program?

Jimmy: Well, Peche Seafood Grill down on Magazine, Borgne, of course Cooter Brown's oyster bar the old Irish pub. Several others, big ones of course. Elysian Seafood at St. Roch Market, and Red Fish Grill. And I'm forgetting one, of course, big one, Drago's, which is nice. So, really a great group of restaurants. And they've really been so committed to the program. Because when you think about trash in New Orleans, you think about space. And you think about how are they going to do this, especially down in the French Quarter.

Everybody has made accommodations, and we've been really able to do a good job at making sure that we pick-up the oysters five times a week. We truck them all the way down to Buras, where they have to cure for six months. Because you can't just put them back in the water. It seems counter-intuitive. You just throw them back in the water. Well, it doesn't work that way.

And then we've already deployed our first living shoreline in the Biloxi Marsh in the Lake Athanasio. So it's already making progress.

Simone: Very cool. If you want to find out more about their oyster shell recycling program, they have a handy fact sheet on their website. They also have some other opportunities, like I said, about some volunteer opportunities. But also maybe ways that you can help. That you can sponsor the opportunity for the oyster shell recycling program.

So just to wrap up our segment here a little bit, Jimmy. I know that just this past, in the past few months, you all had a coastal road show. And then every other year, right? You all host a really important conference here in the state of Louisiana. Do you want to wrap up by talking about those different opportunities?

Jimmy: Yeah, and the idea behind the coastal road show, was that we really wanted to bring kind of an overview, but a very local overview, of coastal restoration and flood risk reduction. So we were able to go to some different areas along coastal Louisiana and the North Shore, where that may not often get a state meeting or something like that. And I think it went very well. We had four of those over the course of the spring. Probably going to do something a little different in the fall. But we're going to do that again.

And then, like you said, our State of the Coast Conference. It'll be the fifth one, coming up at the end of May in 2018. So we have a year, but it is coming up on us fast. It is the largest gathering of scientists, engineers, decision-makers, and people that are interested in coastal Louisiana, to come together and really talk about the science of coastal restoration. And I think that's something that Louisiana can be very proud of, is the fact that we are really leading the way in the science of coastal restoration. Not just here in Louisiana, but around the world.

Simone: Yeah, definitely widely regarded as the most important coastal conference here. There are just so many attendees. It's a great place to see folks that you've worked with for several years on coastal issues. But there's so many new and different folks from all over the country. But really, folks flying in from all over the world to be part of that conference.

And next year will be a really important year. Hopefully, we'll have passed the master plan. And we'll really have an eye toward implementation and the science behind how can you implement so many large scale projects, and how can you sequence that? How can we learn from any efficiencies? And then also big things like, how do we pay for it, right?

Jimmy: That's right.

Simone: So there's no shortage of things to talk about always at conferences like that. So, all right Jimmy, our time here is almost done. Is there anything you want to maybe tell us again? The website, and how to get more information. I'm assuming you all do the Twitter, and you all do Facebook, and all that kind of stuff.

Jimmy: Oh, yes we do. Yeah, the website, a great place to go to get all the information. Sign up for our volunteer opportunities. Sign up for our newsletter. It's crcl.org. Check us out on Facebook and Twitter. It's CRCL 1988, which is the year of our founding. It's really easy to find this, and all the information. And if you have any questions, you can always give us a call at either our New Orleans office, or our Baton Rouge office. All that information on the website, and we just appreciate you and Jacques very much for having us on

Simone: All right. Thank Jimmy. One last question before we go. You know Jacques and I like to be fun. So the question is, what is your favorite song to sing in the car by yourself, with the windows down, and the music all the way up?

Jimmy: Very interesting question. And I don't know that I can answer that I have an actual favorite. But I can tell you this, that my office mates, very upset. Because I sing constantly in the office, and you can ask any one of them that they're trying to shut me up, every single day.

Simone: I thought you were going to say something about your baby, like I'm a Little Teapot, or something that-

Jimmy: No, no, no, no. Usually, if you want to be honest about it, it's usually Christmas songs. Cause those are the ones I know all the words to. So I'm still singing Christmas songs and I've got my co-workers pretty upset about that.

Simone: Well thank you for your time Jimmy. We really appreciate you being on. We hope to have you on again in the future, especially, of course before State of the Coast. But then maybe before some of those small events that you all have going on too.

Jimmy: That would be great.

Simone: All right, thanks Jimmy. We'll talk to you soon.

Jimmy: Thanks Simone.

Jacques: Once you shuck them, don't just chuck them, Simone.

Simone: I love it. I want the bumper sticker. I hope Jimmy trademarked that. Maybe that's our new shirt, right?

Jacques: There you go. I know. I want some char-grilled oyster from Drago's.

Simone: Maybe we could make it smell like oysters when we sell it? I was kidding about a shirt, but we have our own shirt, right?

Jacques: That's right. We did a partnership with Dirty Coast, who's an awesome local retailer. They really capture the culture and spirit of New Orleans, Louisiana, in their products. So we worked to do kind of a crowd-sourced design. And the design ended up being, The World Needs More Louisiana. So it's a beautiful t-shirt. We have bags. And you can go online mississippiriverdelta.org. And the contact us form, if you're interested.

Simone: And you can win a free t-shirt too, right?

Jacques: You can win a t-shirt. We have a campaign going on right now called Our Coast, where you can tell us what the coast means to you. Share you videos, your photos, all of that. And you can be entered to win one of the shirts.

Simone: So we have a big week coming up again. We have the master plan, which got pushed back a little bit. Going to be heard in Senate Natural Resources next week. But they had some big news this week about a Times-Picayune partnership, and we hope to have them on in the next couple weeks to talk about that too.

Jacques: Absolutely. So Times-Picayune is going to be partnering with the New York Times, and a whole series of reporting about coastal Louisiana.

Simone: Awesome, we're looking forward to that. Well you have a great week Jacques.

Jacques: You too.