Tag: Louisiana

Swallowed by rising seas

Sea level rise is very real in western Louisiana

Coastal forests in Louisiana are being drowned as the ground sinks and sea level rises. @bberwyn photo.
Coastal flooding is nearly a daily reality in parts of Louisiana. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Big chunks of Louisiana’s coast will be swallowed by the sea within decades unless there’s a major effort to rebuild wetlands. Over the last six to 10 years, sea level has been rising about .5 inches per year on average in the region, according to Tulane University researchers, who recently published a new study in the journal Nature Communications .

“In the Mississippi Delta, about 65 percent of study sites are probably still keeping pace, but in the westernmost part of coastal Louisiana, more than 60 percent of sites are on track to drown,” said Tulane geology professor Torbjörn E. Törnqvist, a co-author of the study. Continue reading “Swallowed by rising seas”

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Good news for Gulf of Mexico sea turtles

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Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawlers.

Change in Louisiana law will benefit turtles and shrimpers

Staff Report

FRISCO — Gulf of Mexico sea turtles may soon be a little safer, following a vote by the Louisiana State Legislature to reverse a 1987 law that conflicted with federal rules requiring shrimp fishing boats to use Turtle Excluder Devices in fishing nets.

The TEDs are openings in the net that enable trapped sea turtles to escape before they drown.Louisiana was the only state that refused to enforce this federal law, even though the state’s vessels make up a significant portion of the Gulf Coast shrimp trawl fishery, which by some estimates kills up to 50,000 turtles per year. Continue reading “Good news for Gulf of Mexico sea turtles”

Study: Deepwater Horizon oil disaster changed environmental views of some Gulf Coast residents

Responses to survey varied geographically

Deepwater Horizon Response Bird Rescue. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John D. Miller.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Many Gulf Coast residents most directly affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster have become more concerned about a wide range of environmental issues, including sea level rise.

Some also became more likely to support a moratorium on deepwater drilling and  to favor alternative energy rather than increased oil exploration. But the responses varied geographically, with Lousiana residents less likely to support limits on drilling, while Florida residents favor stronger environmental protections, according to University of New Hampshire researchers who interviewed 2,023 residents of the Gulf Coast conducted in the aftermath of the explosion on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010.

“If disasters teach any lessons, then experience with the Gulf oil spill might be expected to alter opinions about the need for environmental protection. About one-fourth of our respondents said that as a result of the spill, their views on other environmental issues such as global warming or protecting wildlife had changed,” said UNH sociology professor Lawrence Hamilton. Continue reading “Study: Deepwater Horizon oil disaster changed environmental views of some Gulf Coast residents”

Report: Some Louisiana dolphins hit hard by oil spill

Research team documents severe ill-effects in Barataria Bay

A bottlenose dolphin in the Gulf of Mexico. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN
Barataria Bay (GOOGLE MAPS).

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Many dolphins in Louisiana’s Barataria Bay — one of the areas hit hardest by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil catastrophe — are underweight and anemic, have low blood sugar and suffers symptoms of liver and lung disease, NOAA researchers said this week.

Nearly half of the 32 dolphins studied also have abnormally low levels of hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function, biologists said, releasing  preliminary results of a natural resource damage assessment to help responders deal with a steady stream of dolphin strandings along the tainted coastline. A NOAA dolphin FAQ is online here.

Barataria Bay, located in the northern Gulf of Mexico, received heavy and prolonged exposure to oil during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A NOAA dolphin assessment work slideshow is online here. Continue reading “Report: Some Louisiana dolphins hit hard by oil spill”

Groups sue to halt 7-year oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

Feb. 2 report compiles independent monitoring data

Oil washes near the shore of Chandeleur Island. PHOTO COURTESY JEFFREY WARREN/GRASS ROOTS MAPPING PROJECT.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY— Citing the public’s right to know why an oil rig 11 miles off the coast of Louisiana has been leaking oil for seven years, a coalition of watchdog and environmental groups has filed a lawsuit against Taylor Energy Company LLC.

The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court  by the Waterkeeper Alliance and several Gulf Coast Waterkeeper organizations, aims to halt the spill and to make public the facts of the company’s seven-year response and recovery operation. The lawsuit claims that the damaged operation has been leaking several hundred gallons per day into the Gulf of Mexico. Continue reading “Groups sue to halt 7-year oil spill in Gulf of Mexico”

Tropical Storm Lee heading for landfall

More heavy rain expected along Gulf Coast during the weekend

Rainfall from Tropical Storm Lee is spreading inland along the Gulf Coast. Click on the image for the animated loop.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Tropical Storm Lee is still gaining strength as it lashes the coast of Louisiana with heavy rains and winds of up to 60 mph, with landfall expected sometime within the next 24 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The west side of the storm is being weakened by dry air coming off drought-stricken Texas, but the east side of the storm is feeding on deep moisture from far down in the western Caribbean according to the latest forecast discussion. The storm could reach near-hurricane strength, with sustained winds of 65 mph during the next 24 hours, and could drop catastrophic amounts of rain in some low-lying coastal areas. Continue reading “Tropical Storm Lee heading for landfall”

Tropical Storm Lee: Gulf Coast braces for flooding

Landfall expected during the weekend

Tropical Storm Lee strengthens over the Gulf of Mexico. Click on the image for the animated satellite loop.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Some oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico have reported gusts of winds up to 60 mph from Tropical Storm Lee, which was reclassified as full-fledged tropical storm early Friday (Sept. 2) afternoon by the National Hurricane Center. The storm has sustained winds of 40 mph and is expected to strengthen gradually during the next 48 hours and could be near-hurricane strength, with 60 mph winds as it approaches landfall, most likely along the Louisiana coast this weekend. Continue reading “Tropical Storm Lee: Gulf Coast braces for flooding”