Latest news: August 29, 2011

New Orleans levees get a near-failing grade in new corps rating system

By Mark Schleifstein, The New Orleans Times-Picayune. August 29, 2011.

“A new Army Corps of Engineers rating system for the nation’s levees is about to deliver a near-failing grade to New Orleans area dikes, despite the internationally acclaimed $10 billion effort to rebuild the system in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, corps officials have confirmed…”

The agenda pending for our recovery from Hurricane Katrina: An editorial

By Editorial page staff, The New Orleans Times-Picayune. August 28, 2011.

“Six years after Hurricane Katrina, metro New Orleans is deep into its recovery from the catastrophe.

A massive effort to repair public infrastructure is under way — particularly in the city of New Orleans. Our risk of flooding from future storms has been reduced. Transformational changes, including the revolution in New Orleans’ public schools, continue…”

6 years after Katrina, Lower 9th Ward still bleak

By Cain Burdeau, Associated Press. August 28, 2011.

“NEW ORLEANS (AP) — In New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, the grasses grow taller than people and street after street is scarred by empty decaying houses, the lives that once played out inside their walls hardly imaginable now.

St. Claude Avenue, the once moderately busy commercial thoroughfare, looks like the main street of a railroad town bypassed long ago by the interstate. Most buildings are shuttered, “For Sale” signs stuck on their sides. There aren’t many buyers. And the businesses that are open are mostly corner stores where folks buy pricey cigarettes, liquor and packaged food…”

Meetings will focus on community resiliency

By Nikki Buskey, The Daily Comet (Lafourche Parish, La.). August 27, 2011.

“Terrebonne and Lafourche residents can help plan for the future of their environment, economy, culture and communities at a meeting set for next month in Houma.

The America’s Wetland Foundation meetings are called Blue Ribbon Resilient Communities: Envisioning the Future of America’s Energy Coast. The idea is to help Gulf Coast communities remain resilient in the face of storms, coastal erosion, rising sea level and disasters like the BP oil spill…”

An opportunity to rebuild the economy and the environment of the Gulf

By Kris Van Orsdel (The Ocean Conservancy), The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Gulfport, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast). August 27, 2011.

“Six years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated coastal Mississippi and the Gulf coast region and became the costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States. Five years later, the region was devastated once again when the BP oil disaster became the largest man made disaster in U.S. history. As we reflect on these disasters, it is important to not only look at lessons learned but also recognize that we have the opportunity to rebuild the region in a way that restores its natural capital and resiliency critical to the well-being of its communities…”

You can help the Audubon study health of coastal birds

By Nikki Buskey, The Daily Comet (Lafourche Parish, La.). August 26, 2011.

“Bird enthusiasts are asked to take to Louisiana’s beaches this fall to help track the health of coastal species.

The National Audubon Society’s coastal-bird survey is a new program aimed at getting bird watchers to help keep tabs on shore-bird communities, said Erik Johnson, conservation biologist for the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Flyway with the National Audubon Society.

It will provide scientists with data on waterbirds that breed, winter and migrate along the Gulf Coast…”