Latest Mississippi River Delta news: Dec. 30, 2015

General News: 

How Markets Can Restore Louisiana’s Marshes
By Quin Hillyer, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 25, 2015. “Louisiana loses at least 25 square miles of coastal wetlands each year—a grievous destruction of ecologically crucial habitat and of natural buffers against catastrophic storm flooding. But a bold new project ought to teach environmentalists that the profit motive can work more efficiently to protect wetlands than punitive regulations and burdensome bureaucracies. In just six weeks this fall, a private company rebuilt about a square half-mile of wetlands in one of the most ecologically useful spots in Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish. What makes the project novel is that the company, Restoration Systems from Raleigh, N.C., undertook the project on spec as an investment, with the intention of selling wetlands “mitigation credits” to make a profit. Businesses whose activities cause marsh destruction elsewhere will, under a federally encouraged barter system, buy those credits to offset the damage they inflict.” (Read more).

Buras Home to Nation’s Largest Oyster Shell Recycling Program
Features CRCL
By Kari Dequine Harden, Plaquemines Gazette, Dec. 29, 2015. “More than 70 volunteers from all walks of life spent four days in Buras this month bagging about 800 tons of oyster shells – part of the biggest recycling effort of its kind in the entire country. As billions of dollars begin to pour into coastal restoration projects across the state as part of the 2012 Coastal Master Plan, grassroots efforts like the nonprofit Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana’s oyster reef building project have a small but immediate impact toward tackling the mammoth goal of restoring lost habitat and slowing the rapidly eroding coastline.” (Read more).

Year in Review/Looking Ahead: 

2016 Will See Coastal Improvements
Features Simone Maloz, Restore or Retreat
Editorial,, Dec. 30, 2015.The coming year will be a busy one for local coastal projects. The projects represent significant improvements to our natural protections from storm surge — protections that once existed naturally but that have eroded during decades of neglect. Now, we have lost many of those natural defenses, and each successive storm robs us of even more of them and leaves us ever more vulnerable to the next storm. It will take a herculean effort to reverse the trend caused by erosion, subsidence and sea level rise. But these projects are good beginnings. Here, the Caminada Headlands and Whiskey Island restorations are the largest projects.” (Read more).  

2016 To Be a Busy Year for Diversion Planning
By Kari Dequine Harden, Plaquemines Gazette, Dec. 29, 2015. “Opponents and proponents of two major river sediment diversions planned for construction near Myrtle Grove (the Mid-Barataria diversion) and White Ditch (the Mid-Breton diversion) have become energized since the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) voted to proceed with final design and everyone will be offered many opportunities for public comment, said Chip Kline, CPRA chairman.” (Read More).

Election of Edwards Top LA Story
By The Associated Press, Dec. 27, 2015. “A record settlement of more than $20 billion was filed this year between the federal government and five Gulf Coast states involved in litigation tied to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana is set to receive about $6.8 billion, the largest piece among the states. That includes $5 billion to be spent repairing the spill’s damage to natural resources, money that will largely go to coastal restoration and repairing wetlands and damaged wildlife habitats. Another $1 billion will be used to cover the state’s economic losses from the spill. The state also will receive $787 million of BP’s Clean Water Act penalties, which also is expected to be used to repair natural resources. The settlement also calls for Louisiana to receive $20 million to cover its litigation costs, and another $38.25 million will go for expenses tied to the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process. That involves state and federal agencies working with BP to determine the cost of repairing damage to the environment.” (Read more).

Tammany Times: Looking Back On a Year of Highlights
Mentions LPBF
By Sharon Edwards, The Advocate, Dec. 29, 2015. “It’s been a big year in St. Tammany for the many volunteers, organizations and groups that make up this vibrant parish. Some highlights of their activities in 2015: SEPTEMBER: The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation held the 26th annual Beach Sweep, coordinating cleanup activities in seven parishes around the lake, including St. Tammany.” (Read more).

2015: A Year of Water Woes and Green Infrastructure Solutions
By Kelli Barrett, Ecosystem Marketplace, Dec. 30, 2015.Companies such as MillerCoors are investing in nature, too, in order to manage scarce resources and make themselves more resilient in the face of adverse weather events – a top motivator for other corporates as well, including Entergy, which operates in the Deep South with business facilities susceptible to hurricanes and floods. Weather risk is driving the company’s engagement in the carbon markets and its support for restoring Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.” (Read more).

Mississippi River Flooding:

Louisiana and Federal Official Watching, Preparing as Mississippi River Rises to Flood Levels
By Amy Wold, The Advocate, Dec. 29, 2015. “Rising water in the Mississippi River has state and federal agencies on alert as flooding is expected to get close to what south Louisiana saw in 2011, when both the Bonnet Carré and Morganza spillways were opened. Long-range river forecasts call for the river to rise to 44 feet in Baton Rouge by Jan. 19 and to 17 feet in New Orleans by Jan. 9. The level in New Orleans will be kept to no higher than 17 feet by the opening of various spillways. It’s unclear if either the Morganza or Bonnet Carré spillways will be opened this year, but a decision will be made about the Bonnet Carré by Jan. 9, said Mike Stack, chief of emergency management at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ New Orleans district. The trigger to open the spillway is hit when the river is flowing at 1.25 million cubic feet per second and is expected to rise, he said. Currently, the district is evaluating the forecasts and doing other preparation work to make that decision, he said.” (Read more).

Levee District Steps Up Levee Inspections as Mississippi River Continues to Rise
By Robert Rhoden, Times Picayune, Dec. 29, 2015. “The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East Levee District said Tuesday (Dec. 29) it has stepped up inspections of Mississippi River levees for signs of seepage, as the river continues to rise. The river is expected to crest at New Orleans at 17 feet, the official flood stage, on Jan 9. Levee district Regional Director Bob Turner said personnel inspect the river levees for seepage and other signs of distress as a part of their routine maintenance activities. However, with this earlier than normal rise in river levels, crews are “especially vigilant” regarding the levee inspection schedule.” (Read more).

Corps to Activate Emergency Plan on Mighty Mississippi 
By Greg Hilburn, Monroe News Star, Dec. 28, 2015. “The Corps of Engineers will activate emergency operations Friday as Mississippi River continues rising toward its highest levels since the Great Flood of 2011 with the saturated levee already showing signs of stress with landslides appearing at Alsatia in East Carroll Parish. River levels will rise above flood stage on the Mighty Mississippi throughout Louisiana from the Arkansas line to New Orleans, although the levels aren’t forecast to top any portion of the levee.” (Read more).

Louisiana Bracing for River Flooding
By Ben Myers, Times Picayune, Dec. 28, 2015. “Federal and state authorities are monitoring river levels across the state, and the National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Baton Rouge. The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said in a news release Monday night (Dec. 28) that authorities will consider “flood control actions” over the next few weeks. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Ricky Boyett said testing is underway to determine whether opening the Bonnet Carre spillway is necessary. The Corps opens the spillway when the Mississippi River flow exceeds 1.25 million cubic feet per second.” (Read more).

Louisiana Officials Advise of Possible Flooding in January Along Red, Mississippi Rivers
By The Associated Press, Dec. 28, 2015. “State and local authorities are keeping an eye out for possible flooding in the coming days and weeks along the Mississippi River on the eastern edge of Louisiana and the Red River in the west. The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said officials are monitoring both rivers. The office hosted conference calls with leaders of parishes that border the waterways.” (Read more).

Mississippi River Flood Crest May Be Highest Since 1993 in St. Louis; Record Crest Possible in Cape Girardeau, Missouri
By Jon Erdman,, Dec. 30, 2015. “Stretches of the Mississippi River may see flood crests at or above levels set during the 1993 and 1973 floods in the coming days, as swollen tributaries from torrential post-Christmas weekend rain pour into the river. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Crest during MLK week comparable or just below May 2011 flood possible. Areas outside of levee protection may flood. Shipping and industrial activities may be significantly impacted.” (Read more).

Millions in Danger From Threat of Mississippi River Flooding
By CBS News, Dec. 30, 2015. “Torrential downpours have swollen rivers in Illinois and Missouri, and mandatory evacuations are underway. In Missouri, flooding is blamed for at least 13 deaths. The Mississippi river could reach about 14 feet above its flood stage in St. Louis, and flooding could affect about 18 million people in states along the river, from Illinois to Louisiana. Anna Werner reports.” (Read more).

Deer Hunting to End Along Mississippi River
By Editor, Louisiana Sportsman, Dec. 29, 2015. “Deer hunting season will close at sunset on Dec. 29 along the Mississippi River from the Arkansas state line south to Vidalia, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced this evening. The closure, enacted due to flooding of the Mississippi River, begins at sunset Dec. 29, the agency reported. All land east of U.S. Highway 65 from the Arkansas state line to Vidalia are included in the closure, the LDWF said. Parishes affected include East Carroll, Madison, Tensas and Concordia.” (Read more).

Christmas Tree Recycling:

Where to Recycle Christmas Trees in Your Parish
By WWL,, Dec. 29, 2015.The City’s Department of Sanitation along with its solid waste contractors Metro Services, Richard’s Disposal and Empire Services; the Office of Coastal and Environmental Affairs; and Leaaf Environmental are working together to collect, sort, and bundle the trees, which will be placed in selected coastal zones. This project is funded by the Office of Coastal and Environmental Affairs. In 2015, more than 6,965 Christmas trees were collected in Orleans Parish after the holidays and airlifted by the Louisiana National Guard into the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge as part of a program to create new marsh habitat.” (Read more).

Christmas Trees in New Orleans for Coastal Restoration
By Emeka Dibia, WAFB, Dec. 28, 2015. “People who live in New Orleans can once again use their Christmas trees to help restore Louisiana’s coast. Orleans Parish residents are encouraged to recycle their Christmas trees by placing them curbside on their regularly scheduled collection days between Jan. 7-9. The city says the trees must be natural and stripped off all ornaments, tinsel, and lights.  Tree stands must also be removed. Flocked and artificial trees will not be collected. Trees should not be placed on the neutral grounds or in plastic bags.” (Read more).

New Orleans to Pick Up Christmas Trees for Recycling Jan. 7-9
By Greg LaRose, Times Picayune, Dec. 28, 2015. “New Orleans residents who want to have their Christmas trees recycled for coastal restoration efforts are asked to place them curbside on their regularly scheduled collection days between Jan. 7-9. Trees must be natural with all ornaments, tinsel, lights and tree stands removed. Flocked and artificial trees will not be collected, and trees should not be placed on neutral grounds or in plastic bags.” (Read more).

Southern Parishes Seek Christmas Trees for Coastal Restoration Effort
By The Associated Press, AP, Dec. 29, 2015. “In New Orleans, discarded trees will be collected at curbside Jan 7-9. The trees must be all natural trees — flocked and artificial trees cannot be accepted. Lights and ornaments will have to be removed. St. Charles Parish said Monday that it will accept trees at bridge parks in Destrehan and Luling. There also will be curbside pickup in St. Charles Jan. 12. St. Tammany Parish government is accepting trees at the St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds in Covington and the old Levee Board building in Slidell.” (Read more).

New Orleans Encourages Its Residents to Recycle Christmas Trees for Coastal Restoration
By WWL,, Dec. 28, 2015. ““As a coastal city, we must all take restoration seriously. This service is an easy way for our residents to help protect and restore our environment,” said Mayor Landrieu. “We can now use the trees that are typically thrown out as waste as an opportunity to provide critical support to help restore our wetlands and continue to build the resilience of our natural environment.” (Read more).