Archive for Latest News


Summer field trip to the Caernarvon Freshwater Diversion

July 20, 2016 | Posted by Emily McCalla in Latest News

By Samantha Carter, Senior Outreach Coordinator, Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition

Our partners at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and the National Wildlife Federation recently took out a group of folks to see the Caernarvon freshwater diversion and the new land it is building in Big Mar, 20 miles south of New Orleans. Participants were taken by airboat to the diversion structure itself, down the conveyance channel, and through the emerging delta in Big Mar. Caernarvon wasn’t designed to capture sand and other land-building materials out of the Mississippi River but rather to input freshwater into the basin in order to control salinities. Despite this, and its seldom operation and minimal flows, Caernarvon is building new land. That new land provides habitat for wildlife such as roseate spoonbills, alligators, catfish, osprey and turtles in addition to providing protection for communities from storm surge.

The tour included participants from Waggonner and Ball Architects, Trust for Public Land, the Link Restaurant Group, the Louisiana Public Health Institute, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy. See below for some pictures from this tour.

112BoatActionDSCN2130

Air boat touring the new land being built in Big Mar.

111StructureTwoDSCN2075

View of the actual Caernarvon diversion structure.

19Structure

View of alligators thriving near the diversion structure.

18TherynandCrewDSCN2295

Theryn Henkel with LBPF teaching tour-goers about the Caernarvon diversion.

18LilyPadsDSCN2198

New land built by the Caernarvon diversion.

17BabyCypressDSCN2273

Some of the thousands of trees planted by LPBF.

15MarshDSCN2183

New land built by the Caernarvon diversion.

15DragonDSCN2332

Wildlife thriving in the diversion outfall area.

14CloudsDSCN2136

View of vast area of submerged aquatic vegetation.

13GatorDSCN2070

One of many alligators living in the diversion outfall area.

12TherynDSCN2115

Theryn Henkel discussing all of the new land being built by the Caernarvon diversion.

11ButerflyDSCN2108

Wildlife thriving in the diversion outfall area.

 

1birdsDSCN2169

Wildlife thriving in the diversion outfall area.

If you would like to learn more about the Caernarvon freshwater diversion or set up a tour of your own, please contact LPBF’s Assistant Director of Coastal Sustainability, Theryn Henkel at therynhenkel@gmail.com.

 As Senior Outreach Coordinator, Samantha Carter works to develop and implement outreach and engagement strategies to advance the priorities of the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program for the National Wildlife Federation. Focusing on the Greater New Orleans area, she educates and engages community leaders and other key stakeholders, including elected officials and neighborhood associations, to address the alarming loss of coastal wetlands in Louisiana. Additionally, Samantha helps coordinate the MRGO Must Go Coalition – a group of 17 environmental, community, and social justice organizations working to restore the degraded wetland ecosystem that protects the Greater New Orleans area from storm surge.

No Comments

Celebrating America and Protecting our Feathered Friends

July 18, 2016 | Posted by Emily McCalla in Latest News

By Emily McCalla, Communications Coordinator, Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition

Young Wilson's Plovers being cared for by Audubon Louisiana staff.

Audubon Louisiana staff banding baby Least Terns to track their survivorship.

Prior to the start of a busy Fourth of July weekend, Audubon Louisiana staff and volunteers ventured to Holly Beach to protect nesting birds. These birds, including Wilson’s Plovers, Least Terns and Black Skimmers, are all Audubon priority bird species and are in danger of losing their crucial habitat. Additionally, many of these birds depend on beach habitat for nesting, making their nests vulnerable to vehicular and human traffic. These nests are often camouflaged, making it hard for people to know birds are nesting on the same beaches they’re enjoying for recreation.

Audubon Louisiana staff discovered nesting sites along the beaches where many would gather to celebrate Independence Day. Sadly, a few nests were found to have been run over by vehicles. In order to protect these birds from further beachgoer incidents, Audubon Louisiana reached out to supporters to gather volunteers to install protective fencing and signs around these critical nesting areas.

Audubon Louisiana Director of Bird Conservation, Erik Johnson, and a volunteer install protective fencing.

Audubon Louisiana Director of Bird Conservation, Erik Johnson, and a volunteer install protective fencing.

Upon arriving at the beach, Katie Barnes, Audubon Louisiana Coastal Bird Technician, spotted a young Wilson’s Plover running across the beach. She placed a small band around the bird’s leg in order to track its movement, weighed and recorded the bird, and a volunteer safely released it back onto the beach along with another fledgling collected by Audubon Louisiana Director of Bird Conservation, Erik Johnson.

Katie Barnes banding a young Wilson's Plover.

Audubon Louisiana Coastal Bird Technician, Katie Barnes, banding a young Least Tern.

Volunteers watch as the banded birds are weighed and recorded.

Volunteers watch as the banded birds are weighed and recorded.

Volunteer releasing the banded birds safely onto the beach.

Volunteer releasing the banded birds safely onto the beach.

In all, eight volunteers showed up to help protect these priority birds and their nests. Some people were directed to install fence posts, some strung reflective cord, and some secured “Sensitive Nesting Area” signs to each post. After a few hours, enough fencing was installed to protect all of the cataloged nests along the beach during the Independence Day festivities. Volunteers were able to learn about priority birds, see many of them along the beach and enjoy a beautiful start to the Fourth of July weekend!

Audubon Louisiana staff and volunteers in Holly Beach

Audubon Louisiana staff and volunteers in Holly Beach

Katie Barnes displaying the flight feathers beginning to grow on a young Wilson's Plover.

Katie Barnes displaying the flight feathers beginning to grow on young Least Terns.

Black Skimmers seen along the beach.

Black Skimmers seen along the beach.

Audubon Louisiana staff teaching volunteers about Wilson's Plovers.

Audubon Louisiana staff teaching volunteers about Least Terns.

Protective fencing and signage installed around critical nesting sites.

Protective fencing and signage installed around critical nesting sites.

If you are interested in getting involved with Audubon Louisiana events in the future, please visit Audubon Louisiana’s Get Involved page to learn more!

For a complete list of volunteer opportunities available with Restore the Mississippi River Delta, visit our Coalition volunteer page.

Emily McCalla is National Audubon Society’s Communications Coordinator for the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition. As a Lake Charles native, she is directly familiar with the issues facing our coast and is passionate about working to save it. Prior to joining Audubon, Emily worked with STUN Design & Interactive in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as the Marketing and Office Coordinator. Prior to that, she was the State Coordinator for the Louisiana Solar Energy Society—a nonprofit dedicated to promoting clean, solar energy throughout the state. Emily is a graduate of Louisiana State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing in 2013.

1 Comment

Job Opening: Digital Marketing & Communications Associate

March 3, 2016 | Posted by jhebert in Job openings, Latest News

The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is hiring a full-time Digital Marketing and Communications Associate based in its New Orleans, LA office.

Overview:

The Digital Marketing and Communications Associate will leverage online engagement strategies to raise awareness and build support for restoration of the Mississippi River Delta on behalf of National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense Fund, and National Wildlife Federation, as well as in collaboration with regional partners Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. S/He will develop and implement strategies for growing the Coalition’s online audience across a variety of digital properties, as well as track performance and iterate accordingly. The Digital Marketing and Communications Associate will be a part of the communications team and will be charged with translating its goals online by designing and distributing web-based content across the Coalition website, social media, email list and other digital platforms. S/He will help broadcast in-person events, meetings, and hearings to a digital audience through a variety of engaging tactics, as well as develop content, such as videos, infographics and more that educate and inform. The Digital Marketing and Communications Associate will help design and implement online paid media strategies across a variety of platforms. Candidate must possess a strong fluency in social media, email marketing and digital content management. Skills in CSS/HTML, experience with WordPress, graphic design and video editing highly desired.

Essential Functions:

  • Manage content on campaign website, blog and social media properties; working with campaign staff to design, create, edit, and regularly update multimedia pages on the site; analyze website statistics.
  • Develop strategies for reaching new audiences on Coalition social media properties, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as identify potential emerging platforms and innovative techniques for reaching target audiences.
  • Coordinate with communications team on implementation of communications messaging and strategies across coalition online platforms:
    • Make suggestions for tailoring messaging and packaging content specifically for online audiences on different online platforms.
    • When appropriate, coordinate with partner organizations’ online teams to execute social media campaigns and leverage larger organizational platforms when possible.
    • Spearhead implementation of site redesign, working closely with senior communications staff and contractors to manage workflow and deliverables.
  • Ensure optimal user experience across coalition website and social media platforms, maintaining seamless consistency with coalition strategy, branding and messaging.
  • Establish quantifiable goals for Coalition online work, including numbers of constituent and fan bases on social media (including influencers and activist subgroups), website visits and engagement activities, such as online actions taken.
  • Draft and implement social media content, including text, photos and other graphics for sharing.
  • Identify emerging platforms and digital processes worth pursuing as part of larger online engagement strategy.
  • Attend relevant on-the-ground events, hearings and meetings as needed to document and engage an online audience through live-tweeting, photo-sharing, videos, blog posts and other means.
  • Manage Coalition blog, Delta Dispatches, editorial calendar, including developing and updating content.
  • Maintain systems to track and evaluate performance analytics for website and social media platforms to improve content and engagement against key metrics and benchmarks.
  • Manage coalition email list: This includes recommending opportunities to engage email subscribers through action alerts, developing monthly e-newsletters, growing subscriber list and more.
  • In direct coordination with Communications committee and contractors, maintain online advertising efforts, placing ads and reporting on performance to ensure success of digital advertising as part of larger paid media strategy.
  • Employ optimal Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) practices to help drive traffic and inform decisions on content.
  • Support senior communications staff as needed in achieving strategic team and coalition goals online.

Qualifications and Experience: 

  • Bachelor’s Degree required; strongly preferred in marketing, communications or other related field.
  • 2-4 years’ experience managing web content, social media strategy and online communications for a large organization, with proven track record of growth in user base and engagement.
  • Experience developing engaging and innovative online communications materials for a wide range of audiences across a variety of platforms.
  • Demonstrated success leveraging a wide variety of social media platforms and innovative tactics to engage and reach supporters.
  • Knowledge of SEO/SEM, as well as experience managing and implementing paid media campaigns online.
  • Prior experience in site redesigns with an eye for what makes a compelling and engaging site layout and online presentation.
  • Exceptional writing and editing skills. Ability to communicate complex and technical information clearly to many audiences. Must write quickly and well under pressure.
  • Proactive, self-starter able to get things accomplished with minimal direct supervision.
  • Strong proficiency in a wide range of digital platforms and programs, including Microsoft Office, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Premiere Pro, WordPress, Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Engaging Networks or similar email management system.
  • Photography, sound and video recording and editing capabilities; experience in the nonprofit sector on issues related to conservation; knowledge of Louisiana and its people/geography/history/environment.
  • Must be willing to travel, as well as commit to some evening and weekend work as needed.

How to Apply:

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter detailing your interest in the position, resume, and references and complete the application here.

About Us:

The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States.

No Comments

Latest Mississippi River Delta news: Feb. 3, 2016

February 3, 2016 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Latest News

TV cooking show to spotlight area wetlands' plight
By Meredith Burns, Houma Courier. Feb. 2, 2016.
"Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program staff will show off some of the area’s best seafood on an episode of the TV show “Flip My Food” airing this week…" (read more)

No Comments

Latest Mississippi River Delta news: Feb. 2, 2016

February 2, 2016 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Latest News

7 Louisiana coastal restoration projects gain new approvals
By Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune. Feb. 1, 2016.
"A federal-state coastal restoration task force has ordered design work to begin on five new restoration projects and a restoration demonstration. It also OK'd the start of construction on two existing projects…" (read more)

Final bays on Bonnet Carre Spillway closed Monday as Mississippi River level slowly falls
By Amy Wold, The Advocate. Feb. 1, 2016.
"The last 24 bays at the Bonnet Carre Spillway were closed Monday, ending the flow of Mississippi River water into Lake Pontchartrain, but south Louisiana could see more rising river water in the spring…" (read more)

Engineering will start on two coastal restoration projects in south Lafourche after a state-federal task force approved paying their design costs
By Associated Press. Feb. 2, 2016.
"THIBODAUX, Louisiana — Engineering will start on two coastal restoration projects in south Lafourche after a state-federal task force approved paying their design costs…" (read more)

Deepwater Horizon restoration projects need accountability
By Larry McKinney, TribTalk. Feb. 1, 2016.
"After years of assessment, litigation and negotiation, BP has agreed to pay more than $20 billion in penalties to settle claims in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that devastated the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. In October, the Natural Resource Trustees released an eye-popping overview of their plans to put that money to use restoring the environment…" (read more)

Nearly 1,000 scientists in Tampa for conference on BP oil spill
By Keith Morelli, The Tampa Tribune. Feb. 1, 2016.
"TAMPA — Nearly 1,000 scientists, researchers and environmental experts from all over the globe are in downtown Tampa this week for the four-day Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference…" (read more)

No Comments

Latest Mississippi River Delta news: Feb. 1, 2016

February 1, 2016 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Latest News

How long will Lake Pontchartrain stay dirty?
By Todd Masson, The Times-Picayune. Jan. 28, 2016.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to complete the task of closing the bays in the Bonnet Carre Spillway next week, but that won't immediately alter the hydrological makeup of Lake Pontchartrain…" (read more)

Did spillway opening push speckled trout out of Lake Pontchartrain?
By Todd Masson, The Times-Picayune. Jan. 28, 2016.
"Salinity isn't terribly important to speckled trout this time of year, but clarity is, and for the past couple of weeks, much of Lake Pontchartrain has been about as clear as advanced-placement calculus…" (read more)

New Orleans Is Done Fighting Water
By Julian Spector, City Lab. Jan. 29, 2016.
"Unlike some other flood-prone, below-sea-level cities, New Orleans keeps its water hidden. Whereas Amsterdam and Venice channel the seas through a dense network of canals dispersed throughout the city, New Orleans long ago resorted to fortifying its borders against the lakes, river, and swamps that surround it—pumping out whatever water got through. That was one reason why Hurricane Katrina hit the levees with such ferocity: the pent-up floodwaters got funneled down the man-made canals until they crashed against man-made barriers…" (read more)

Louisiana pays more than $19K for destroyed wetlands
By The Associated Press. Jan. 28, 2016.
"Louisiana has had to pay nearly $20,000 to compensate for the fact that New Orleans’ City Park illegally cleared more than an acre of wetlands for a new golf course last year…" (read more)

Terrebonne Parish Council approves new parish administrators
By Sean Ellis, The Daily Comet. Jan. 27, 2016.
"The Terrebonne Parish Council unanimously approved all of Parish President Gordon Dove's appointments of parish administrators and the parish's attorney and assistant attorneys at its meeting tonight…" (read more)

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser promotes tourism to stimulate state economy
By Liz Koh, KPLC-TV. Jan. 28, 2016.
"While State Treasurer John Kennedy discussed the state's struggling oil industry at the Golden Nugget on Thursday, over at L'Auberge, newly-elected Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser proposed a solution to stimulate the state's economy…" (read more)

No Comments

Latest Mississippi River Delta news: Jan. 27, 2016

January 27, 2016 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Latest News

Floodwaters start to recede
By Stacy Gill, The Advocate. Jan. 27, 2016.
"Several roads that were closed recently because of floodwater from the Mississippi River in West Feliciana Parish remain closed as of Jan. 25, including River Road at Tunica, Cat Island Road at Polly Creek and the low-water bridge at Solitude…" (read more)

Nungesser taps former LDWF secretary to lead state parks
By Greg Hilburn, The News Star. Jan. 26, 2016.
"Robert Barham, who served two terms as former Gov. Bobby Jindal's Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries secretary, will direct state parks and historic sites under new Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser…" (read more)

Gentilly Resiliency District goes against flow of how New Orleans handles stormwater
By Greg LaRose, The Times-Picayune. Jan. 26, 2016.
"A $141 million grant the federal government awarded New Orleans last week will allow the city to tackle one of its most ambitious infrastructure projects since a network of drainage canals and pumping stations were built to turn its sub-sea level swampland into sprawling suburban-style neighborhoods decades ago…" (read more)

What You Need to Know About the Gentilly Resiliency District
By Lauren LaBorde, Curbed. Jan. 27, 2016.
"New Orleans recently won a grant to improve handling of stormwater, and the buzzwordy Gentilly Resiliency District was presented as one of the initiatives the grant will power. The only thing we knew about it then was the vague aim of creating "resilient safe and equitable communities of opportunity," but now there's more info. Here's the skinny…" (read more)

No Comments

Latest Mississippi River Delta new: Jan. 26, 2016

January 26, 2016 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Latest News

Bonnet Carre Spillway closing begins as river slowly drops
By Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune. Jan. 25, 2016.
"The Army Corps of Engineers began closing the first 10 of 210 bays in the Bonnet Carre Spillway weir at Norco on Monday (Jan. 25), as the flow of the Mississippi River continued to drop at the Carrollton gauge in New Orleans. The corps hopes to complete the closure of the structure, which diverts river water to Lake Pontchartrain to reduce the height and speed of water stressing levees in the New Orleans area, in seven to 10 days, spokesman Ricky Boyett said…" (read more)

Corps begins closing gates on Bonnet Carre Spillway; could have all gates shut by Feb. 2
By Amy Wold, The Advocate. Jan. 25, 2016.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began closing bays at the Bonnet Carre Spillway on Monday as the water level along the Mississippi River continues to fall slowly…" (read more)

HUD awards $233.8M to Louisiana and N.O. under NDRC
By WWL.com. Jan. 25, 2016.
"At a ceremony at Mirabeau Gardens in New Orleans today, HUD Regional Administrator Tammye Treviño, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Rockefeller Foundation announced that a total of $233.8 million had been awarded to the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans under the National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC). Nationally, a total of $1 billion in grants was awarded to 13 States and cities, all of whom will use the funds for resilient housing and infrastructure projects in areas that were impacted by recent major disasters…" (read more)

No Comments

Latest Mississippi River Delta news: Jan. 25, 2016

January 25, 2016 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Latest News

Our Views: Long-term plan for coastal diversion projects
By Editorial Board Staff, The New Orleans Advocate. Jan. 21, 2016.
*features John Lopez (Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation) and Kimberly Davis Reyher (Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana)
"When Mother Nature gives you an opportunity, you’ve got to be in position to take advantage of it. Now, with the Mississippi River hitting its crest in January, another high-water event will not be of much help to Louisiana’s endangered coastline…" (read more)

HUD sends La. $234M for flooding
By Cain Burdeau, The Associated Press. Jan. 23, 2016.
"NEW ORLEANS — In a nod to the threat Louisiana faces from flooding, the federal government is sending $233.8 million in grants to Louisiana to relocate a coastal American-Indian village, prevent damage from hurricanes and make a suburban slice of New Orleans better at handling stormwaters…" (read more)

Mississippi River water level to start slow decline; some Bonnet Carre gates could close next week
By Amy Wold, The Advocate. Jan. 22, 2016.
"The beginning of the end for the latest Mississippi River flooding has arrived in south Louisiana because water levels will start to slowly fall on Saturday in Baton Rouge, possibly prompting the closure of some bays at Bonnet Carre as early as Monday…" (read more)

No Comments

Latest Mississippi River Delta news: Jan. 22, 2016

January 22, 2016 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Latest News

Guest column: River should be harnessed for restoration
By Jeff Hebert and David Muth for The Advocate. Jan. 22, 2016.
"The recent opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway is a dramatic reminder of our region’s precarious relationship with water and the responsibility and opportunity we have to be innovative leaders in water management…" (read more)

Louisiana awarded $92 million in disaster resilience funds: $52 million to help relocate Isle de Jean Charles community
By Amy Wold, The Advocate. Jan. 21, 2016.
"Louisiana has been awarded more than $92 million through a National Disaster Resilience Competition, part of which will help the community of Native Americans living in Isle de Jean Charles to relocate to safer ground…" (read more)

City of New Orleans wins $141 million to build Gentilly 'resilience district'
By Robert McClendon, The Times-Picayune. Jan. 21, 2016.
"The city of New Orleans Thursday (Jan. 21) won a $141 million grant to create a "resilience district" in Gentilly…" (read more)

Gov. John Bel Edwards' plan to use oil spill funds at odds with lawsuit settlement
By Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press. Jan. 21, 2016.
"Gov. John Bel Edwards' proposal to redirect Gulf oil spill recovery money to rebalance this year's budget appears to conflict with a legal settlement the state struck two years ago, aimed at ending a lawsuit over Louisiana's "rainy day" fund…" (read more)

Isle de Jean Charles community to receive $52 million to relocate
By the Houma Courier. Jan. 21, 2016.
"Louisiana will receive $92 million from a federal disaster resilience competition, of which more than half will be spent relocating a local native american tribe from their disappearing homeland…" (read more)

Fisheries officials say the fall shrimp season will close on Monday in state waters close to shore
By Associated Press. Jan. 22, 2016.
"BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Fisheries officials say the fall shrimp season will close on Monday in state waters close to shore…" (read more)

No Comments