Archive for Videos

City of New Orleans Christmas Tree Recycling Program Celebrates 20 Years of Protecting Wetlands

April 6, 2015 | Posted by jhebert in Community Resiliency, Restoration Projects, Videos

By Samantha Carter, National Wildlife Federation

Where does your Christmas tree go when you leave it at the curb?

If you participated in the New Orleans tree recycling program this year, then as of April 2nd your tree is now in the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge.

Black Hawk helicopter drops Christmas trees onto marsh.

Black Hawk helicopter from afar




After your tree was picked up off of the curb in January, it was sorted and bundled by the Department of Sanitation with help from the city’s Office of Coastal and Environmental Affairs. Then teams from the Louisiana Army National Guard Aviation Command, based in Hammond, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service met Thursday, April 2 in New Orleans East to airdrop the bundles into the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge.

The National Guard uses the event as a training exercise with two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters which pick up the tree bundles and place them into cribs set up in the marsh. The tree cribs are placed in strategic locations in the marsh to reduce wave action, slow erosion and protect the natural marsh and shoreline habitat. The trees also trap sediments to help create new habitat. Over the years the project has helped to re-establish approximately 175 acres in the Wildlife Refuge.


Thousands of people in Orleans Parish participate in this program every year and several other parishes in southern Louisiana have programs of their own.  The Christmas tree recycling program is a great way for communities to get involved in restoring the coast. Participation in the program also helps keep the trees from being incinerated or ending up in landfills.

A big thanks to the City of New Orleans, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Louisiana Army National Guard and all those who recycled their trees this year. Be sure to keep your ears open for next year’s tree pick up days!

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Bayou Bonjour: Caernarvon Diversion Builds Land and Gives Birth to New Bayou

March 26, 2015 | Posted by jhebert in Diversions, Restoration Projects, Science, Videos

Straddling the border of Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes in Southeastern Louisiana is the Caernarvon Freshwater Diversion built by the Army Corps of Engineers and operated since 1992 to balance water salinity by funneling river water into coastal marshes.

Lately, the diversion has had indirect effects that are raising eyebrows among scientists and those seeking to find solutions to address the crisis of Louisiana’s disappearing coast. The Caernarvon Freshwater Diversion is creating land at a rapid pace by delivering nutrient-rich river fresh water to bayous that have been starved of sediment and are eroding at an alarming rate.

In a new video, Coordinator of Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation’s Coastal Sustainability Program Dr. John Lopez outlines how approximately 1,000 acres of wetlands have been developed from the Caernarvon Diversion to create a new delta and within it a new bayou known as Bayou Bonjour. The new bayou is named in contrast to the book "Bayou Farewell," foretelling of the tragic loss of our wetlands and bayous. “Caernarvon was not designed or operated to build land,” Lopez notes, yet “Big Mar Pond has been filling up over the last twenty years due to sediment from Caernarvon.” How did this happen? Lopez explains how the diversion has provided an “ideal recipe for building a delta”: (river freshwater + sediments + nutrients = land growth).

Big Mar is located directly behind Braithwaite Park, a Plaquemines Parish community housed outside the federal levee system where devastation from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Isaac occurred. Building land in Big Mar could provide a much-needed buffer for this community and an example for how to protect others like it. “As long as Caernarvon Diversion is flowing, this waterway and others like it will develop and this gives us hope in Louisiana that we can rebuild our coast,” says Lopez. In addition, recently planted cypress trees are thriving and will provide additional environmental and flood protection benefit as a new "line of defense."

Take a tour of Bayou Bonjour:

Want to learn more about the Caernarvon Diversion and other solutions for restoring the Mississippi River Delta? Visit, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. You can also share the video with your network using the following tweet:

  • Introducing Bayou Bonjour: Caernarvon Diversion has created an “ideal recipe for building a delta” #RestoreOurCoast
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Timeline of the Gulf Oil Disaster: Make BP Restore

October 1, 2013 | Posted by Ryan Rastegar in BP Oil Disaster, Media Resources, Meetings/Events, Videos

Yesterday, September 30, 2013, as phase II of the 2010 BP oil spill civil trial began in New Orleans, members of the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign gathered outside the courthouse to demand BP be held fully accountable for the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

At 6:30 am, we debuted a brand new BP oil spill timeline video LIVE outside the courthouse on a 16-foot, high definition LED billboard in an effort to highlight the ongoing need for restoration and to publicly hold BP accountable. The video screen, which was adorned with a giant banner atop saying "#makeBPrestore," will be directly outside the U.S. District Courthouse in New Orleans for the first two days of the BP trial playing our video on constant loop. Check out the video below. Please LIKE the video and SHARE it so that we may send a strong, unified message that it's time for BP to restore the Gulf.

Sample tweet: Detailed timeline of the @BP_America Oil Disaster [VIDEO] Learn why we must #makeBPrestore in phase II of #bptrial

And click the photo below to see an album of photos from the day!

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VIDEO: 3 Years Later, Make BP Pay

May 9, 2013 | Posted by Delta Dispatches in BP Oil Disaster, Meetings/Events, Videos

On April 20, 2010, 11 people lost their lives and the biggest environmental disaster in our nation's history began. Three years later, BP's oil is still here, and it continues to impact the people, places and wildlife of the Gulf.

On April 20, 2013, to mark three years of BP's ongoing disaster, local groups and citizens gathered to memorialize all that has been lost, call out BP for the ongoing effects of the spill, and take a stand to fight for justice in the Gulf.

Below is our video from that event. Watch it and share it, and be sure to follow the link at the end to take action to tell BP it's time to pay!

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Special to CNN: Make BP pay to restore Gulf

March 5, 2013 | Posted by Delta Dispatches in BP Oil Disaster, Clean Water Act, Media Resources, Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), RESTORE Act, Videos

David Yarnold, President, National Audubon Society

This story was originally posted on CNN

By David Yarnold, President, National Audubon Society

Special to CNN
Updated 8:01 AM EST, Tue March 5, 2013

(CNN) — BP showed up in court last week, finally, nearly three years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the hell it unleashed on the Gulf Coast. It's a huge, high-stakes trial, and BP is taking the beating it's earned. Here's what's at stake for America if there is a judgment: potentially tens of billions of dollars that will be used to create jobs while restoring some of our most productive and vulnerable natural places.

Whether the trial results in a decision or a settlement, the outcome will send a signal about how serious this country is about enforcing its common-sense rules that guarantee clean air and waters.

BP and its partners have already confessed to criminal negligence in the 2010 blowout that killed 11 men and gushed nearly 5 million barrels of oil. Every part of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, from the deep-sea corals to dolphins to migratory birds, was… (continue reading on

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Mardi Gras Pass: Compromise will be key

March 4, 2013 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Diversions, Mardi Gras Pass, Science, Videos

By Emily Guidry Schatzel, Communications Manager, National Wildlife Federation

Recent news reports suggest that the potential for compromise exists in the case of Mardi Gras Pass, the newest known distributary of the Mississippi River. The pass was discovered in 2012 when the river cut a channel through its bank in the Bohemia Spillway, a stretch without levees, giving an exciting and rare view at how a natural delta system operates.

While the pass promises ecological prosperity for the delta, the newly enlarged channel washed out the private road that one local oil company uses to access its facilities. The company has since applied for a permit to rebuild that road. Coastal restoration advocates believe that the current plan to rebuild will effectively close the Mardi Gras Pass and will eliminate encouraging ecological benefits that scientists from the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation have been monitoring since the channel’s development.

FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

This video further explains the debate over keeping the pass open, and alternatives for compromise. The key takeaway? Whether it be construction of a bridge, or another reasonable alternative that gives the oil company access while allowing Mother Nature to literally “run its course,” this is clearly an issue that requires the full attention of key decision-makers so that the best long-term solution is achieved.

As Dr. John Lopez, executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation — the organization that discovered the pass in 2012 — said, “It’s the kind of thing that most scientists sit in their offices there, dreaming how it might happen. Here, you can actually see it.” Keeping Mardi Gras Pass open is important — it’s a chance for the river to reconnect with its wetlands, which is exactly what the river is designed to do.

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LPB TV and the BP Oil Disaster: “Louisiana: The State We’re In”

November 26, 2012 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in BP Oil Disaster, Videos

Last Friday on Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s (LPB) “Louisiana: The State We’re In,” panelists representing impacted families, state communities and the environment discussed the recent Department of Justice announcement of an unprecedented $4.5 billion BP criminal case settlement for BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, plus ongoing impacts and restoration needs.

Panelists included: Keith Jones, whose son was among the eleven killed in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion; Melanie Driscoll, Director of Bird Conservation for the National Audubon Society’s Mississippi Flyway and Gulf of Mexico; and Garret Graves of the Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority of Louisiana.

The episode first aired last Friday on LPB television (see additional airings at and is available online at You can also watch it below.

Show: Louisiana: The State We're In

Airing: Check your local listings and for additional viewings.

Description: BP has agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill two and a half years ago. A panel of experts will discuss the topic including Garret Graves with the Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority of Louisiana; Keith Jones, whose son was among the eleven killed in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion; and Melanie Driscoll with the National Audubon Society.


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Video: Postcards from New Orleans: Hope for the Northeast

November 12, 2012 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Community Resiliency, Hurricanes, Videos

By Elizabeth Skree, Environmental Defense Fund

If anyone can sympathize with the Northeast as it recovers from Hurricane Sandy, it’s the residents of New Orleans. I found this out firsthand on recent trip to Louisiana.

While Hurricane Sandy battered the Northeast, I was in South Louisiana with Environmental Defense Fund’s Creative Director, Nicole Possin, working on a video about wetlands restoration in the Mississippi River Delta. We’d planned the trip long before we knew about Sandy, and the irony of being in Louisiana while a hurricane hit the Northeast was not lost on us. I live in Washington, and Nicole lives in Brooklyn and owns a house in Asbury Park, NJ — an area severely hit by the storm. In Louisiana, it was in the 70s and sunny, making it hard to believe a tropical storm was hitting the East Coast. Needless to say, we were glued to the news.

As we talked with people throughout the state, we were met with greetings of sympathy, understanding and encouragement for us and our neighbors back home. “We’ve been through this before, and you’re going to get through it, too” was a common sentiment. “Rebuilding is going to take time, but as long as you have the people you love nearby, it will be OK” was another. It was comforting and touching to hear such kind words from strangers, especially from people who have been through numerous natural disasters.

Louisianans have experienced more than their fair share of hurricanes, including Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike, Lee and most recently, Isaac. We met with people who’d lost their homes in those storms — sometimes not once, but twice. In many parts of New Orleans and south Louisiana, people are still rebuilding their houses, businesses and communities — years later.

Yet despite all this, there is a strong sense of hope and resiliency among the people of South Louisiana.

We took to the streets with our camera and helped local residents send messages of empathy and encouragement to the people of the Northeast. The result was this video, “Postcards from New Orleans: Hope for the Northeast.” Please share it with others and feel free to leave your own message in the comments section below. This video is the first in a series, so please check back for future installments.

Additional resources:

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More than 100 Gulf Coast cities, municipalities, economic development groups and chambers of commerce urge Congress to pass RESTORE Act

May 30, 2012 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in BP Oil Disaster, Clean Water Act, Congress, Media Resources, Meetings/Events, RESTORE Act, Seafood, Videos

Gulf Coast leaders discuss the importance of passing the RESTORE Act at a press event in Tallahassee. Photo credit: Kevin Cate.

Yesterday, 118 leaders representing cities, municipalities, economic development groups and chambers of commerce from all five gulf states sent a joint letter to House and Senate leadership urging them to pass the RESTORE Act. If passed, the RESTORE Act would direct the majority of fines paid by those responsible for the 2010 gulf oil spill back to Gulf Coast communities.

Both the Senate and House have passed versions of the RESTORE Act as part of their transportation bills. The legislation would dedicate 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties from the gulf oil disaster to Gulf Coast environmental and economic restoration.

“Though the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill was two years ago, many in the fishing and oil and gas communities are still building back after suffering tremendous economic and personal loss,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “The RESTORE Act provisions in the final transportation bill are vital to Louisiana. These funds will help rebuild our precious wetlands, which provide our country national, energy and economic security. It’s imperative that the RESTORE Act receives passage by both chambers and is sent to President Obama’s desk for signature.”

At a press conference at The Wharf Express in Tallahassee, Fla., local leaders spoke to the media about the importance of restoring Florida’s economy after the oil spill and passing the RESTORE Act as soon as possible. Photos from the event can be viewed here.

“In Panama City Beach, our economy depends on beautiful natural resources that were injured in the BP oil disaster, including our alluring beaches and fresh Gulf seafood, which drive tourism to our restaurants, resorts, and businesses,” said Beth Oltman, president and CEO of the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce in a statement released yesterday. “Passage of the RESTORE Act will not only put the Gulf Coast on the path to revitalize our precious natural resources but also to mend our economy.”

“The long-term viability of the Gulf is dependent upon preserving its coast. The economy and security of the nation is significantly dependent upon the Gulf,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. in a written statement. “With this interdependence in mind, passing the RESTORE Act is both a regional and national imperative.”

Related news:

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Restoring the Lower 9th Ward: A resilient vision for New Orleans

May 7, 2012 | Posted by Delta Dispatches in BP Oil Disaster, Clean Water Act, Community Resiliency, Congress, Hurricane Katrina, People, Restoration Projects, RESTORE Act, Videos

This post was originally published on the National Wildlife Federation's Wildlife Promise blog.

By Amanda Moore, National Wildlife Federation’s Coastal Louisiana Organizer in New Orleans

What would you do if, in one day, you lost everything? I’m not just talking about your personal possessions; I’m talking about your entire community — your church, your grocery store, your school. The folks you meet in the video below, Warrenetta Banks and John Taylor, have lived out this scenario every day since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 and have chosen to respond with passion and dedication to recovery — advocating for smart, green urban planning on one side of the levee and a healthy wetland ecosystem on the other side of the levee.

Warrenetta and John are both lifelong residents of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. In the years since the catastrophic flooding, they’ve helped their community recover to be one of the “greenest” in the nation — solar panels, community gardens, and LEED certified homes are typical encounters as you walk down the street. That’s on one side of the levee.

Residents like Warrenetta and John understand all too well that the wetland ecosystem on the other side of the levee is critical to their future and safety. Healthy wetlands serve as a buffer to storm surges and winds and help the levees do their job to protect communities. National Wildlife Federation is one organization working closely with the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (where Warrenetta and John work) to plan and gain funding for restoration of the 400-acre cypress swamp bordering the community (featured in the video) as well as the entire 58,000 acres wetland ecosystem the swamp is connected to, which once buffered much of the Greater New Orleans area from storms and provided important wildlife habitat.

Without healthy wetlands, coastal communities like the Lower Ninth Ward remain very vulnerable to disasters. Urgent funding is needed for restoration. The RESTORE Act, legislation now making its way through the U.S. Congress, will use a portion of Clean Water Act penalties from the BP disaster to fund projects that will restore Gulf Coast ecosystems, including wetlands that protect communities and provide critical habitat for gulf wildlife. Right now, you can make a difference in the future of the Gulf Coast. Learn more about the RESTORE Act and share your voice!

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