The Lowlander Center Is-
Based in the bayous of Louisiana,
the Lowlander Center is a 501-c-3 non-profit organiza-tion supporting lowland people and places through education, research and advocacy.
It is a Center that is based on community participatory principles and methods. Problem solving begins at the community level. The work of the Lowlander Center is to help create solutions to living with an ever-changing coastline and land loss while visioning a future that builds capacity and resilience for place and people.
Scientists Present Ideas on How Future Sediment Diversions should Operate
From Baton Rouge: The Advocate
The state will need to be something of a helicopter parent, at least at first, to future sediment diversions along the Mississippi River, monitoring and adjusting how they are operated, according to a report released Thursday.
Operating diversions to maximize land building while minimizing negative impacts on the environment will involve monitoring how much water and sediment are coming down the river as well as studying how the wetlands are responding.
In addition, decisions about how diversions should operate to meet changing river conditions need to be made ahead of time to give people who live and work nearby advance notice, said Natalie Peyronnin, director of science policy with the Environmental Defense Fund.
“So no, you’re not making a decision on a daily basis,” she said.
The diversion expert group of 12 core members and 42 guest experts -- put together by the Environmental Defense Fund in cooperation with the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition partners -- met over the past eight months to study how Louisiana coastal wetlands respond to diversions and to come up with recommendations on how a diversion should be run.
After the 2011 flood pushed record amounts of silt-laden water through the Mississippi River…
The report outlines the recommendations to build the most land possible with consideration to the fisheries and other environmental concerns
“In the last 50 years, Louisiana has lost 20 percent of its wetlands,” said LSU professor Andy Nyman, adding that if nothing is done, another 15 to 30 percent could be lost over the next 50 years.
Projects that divert sediment from the Mississippi River to surrounding wetlands in a controlled manner have been part of coastal restoration recommendations since at least the 1970s. The state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is currently engineering and designing two such diversions, the most advanced being the Mid-Barataria sediment diversion near Myrtle Grove.
Planned diversion projects designed to take sediment from the Mississippi River to build mar…
While touted as land builders, the diversions have some fishermen concerned the flow of water and sediment will destroy the estuary that provides their livelihood. The new report acknowledges there will be changes in fisheries, but adds the diversion can be operated to increase the overall productivity of wetlands.
“We decided operation should be focused on diversity rather than any one species,” Nyman said.
Without defining an exact plan, the expert group laid out how the Mid-Barataria diversion could operate during the winter-to-spring high-water season under a variety of scenarios. The idea is to mimic Mother Nature and get freshwater and sediment into the wetlands that normally would have flooded if the levees weren’t in place.
Winter operations have the least impact because plants are mostly dormant and there are not many species using the wetlands for nursery or breeding. In addition, cold fronts that push to the coast could help move sediment from bays and into the marsh.
Spring and early summer diversion operations would be more complicated because alligators, blue crab, juvenile brown shrimp and even bottlenose dolphins need to be considered.
In addition to seasonal considerations, diversions must be operated differently in the first five years until gradually opened at full flow. The gradual approach would allow plants, fish and other animals a chance to adapt and allow for channels to develop in the wetlands to disperse the flow, said University of New Orleans professor Alex McCorquodale.
People living and working along the coast also need to be considered, not only with environmental changes caused by diversions, but with how they can be part of operating the structures. While the operation of diversions need to be put together by studies, work must continue to determine how decisions impact people, said Shirley Laska, professor emeritus at the University of New Orleans. The most successful outcome of a sediment diversion will happen if the negative impacts are mitigated or compensated, she said.
Two fishermen with decades of experience between them expressed different expectations to a …
“We see there is a continual concern about what will happen when you have such a large diversion,” Laska said. “We have to be thinking more in advance than we have in the past.”
Louisiana Native American Chief Attended Pacific Resilience Group about Community Resettlement
Chief Albert Naquin of the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha- Choctaw Indians located in Montegut, Louisiana was part of the 2016 Pacific Risk Management 'Ohana (PriMO) conference in Hawaii on Wed., March 17th. He discusses the resettlement of the Tribe through the Tribe's receipt of a $48 million Award from the National Disaster Reduction Competition (NDRC) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Chief Albert spoke on a panel entitled "Peoples and Cultures in Transition" with the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, the Honorable Enele Sosene Sopoaga, and with the Former President of the Republic of Kiribati, the Honorable Anote Tong. Kristina Peterson, Director of the Lowlander Center in Bayou Blue, Jainey K. Bavishi, White House Council on Environmental Quality, Maxine Burkett, University of Hawai'i, William S Richardson School of Law and Kristina Kekuewa, Office for Coastal Management NOAA.
The Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw has been repeatedly flooded by storm surge from powerful hurricanes that have decimated the land in lower Terrebonne upon which their traditional community is built. Knowing how little time the remaining Band members have to be able to remain on the shrinking island, they have determined that the only viable option is resettlement to an inland location safer from hurricane storm surge.
The resettlement will be constructed in phases and will contain a tribal center, health care facility, childcare and elder care facilities and spaces to support entrepreneurial activities such as vegetable farming, crawfish/rice ponds and a ceremonial pow wow field. They seek to reinvigorate their Tribal culture while bringing back together the members of the Isle Band who have been driven from the storm-ravaged island as their houses were destroyed. The new location will serve as a model of a coastal resilient and sustainable community.
The 96th AMS (American Meteorological Society) Annual Meeting in New Orleans January 10-14, 2016 featured Lowlander Center Board Member, Dr. Shirley Laska, as a Panel Member on the Presidential Forum
The theme for the 2016 AMS Annual Meeting, “Earth System Science in Service to Society”, weaved the many parts of AMS into a common core. The 2016 meeting integrated AMS’ proud, nearly 100-year history of making a positive difference in the lives of our citizens by continually communicating the advances of its science research to the public and policy makers.
This year’s Presidential Forum reflects upon the American Meteorological Society (AMS) annual meeting theme, "Earth System Science in Service to Society" provided participants a better understanding of living through extreme events. Our society continues to experience the effects of more and more extreme events like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and drought, some as a result of our changing climate and others as a result of our expanding population. The AMS addressed lessons learned, and more importantly, identified what future actions are needed to help mitigate the impact of these devastating life-changing events. An outstanding panel of speakers – Admiral Thad Allen, United States Coast Guard (ret), Executive Vice President Booz Allen Hamilton; Max Mayfield, Director, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Hurricane Center (ret); Dr. Kerry Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Dr. Shirley Laska, Professor Emerita, and founding past Director of the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology, University of New Orleans, along with Moderator Maureen McCann, News 13 Orlando, lead a discussion of the panelists' personal experiences during Hurricane Katrina and Deepwater Horizon. The panel also addressed AMS’s current activities. (see image right)
106 Sandalwood Dr. ~ Gray, LA 70359
Louisiana's vanishing island: the climate 'refugees' resettling for $52 m
Isle de Jean Charles has lost 98% of its land and most of its population to rising sea levels - but as remaining residents consider relocation, what happens next is a test case to address resettlement. ~ read the article from THE GUARDIAN, 15 March 2016, written by Lauren Zanolli ~
Also - for consideration from INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS, David Hasemyer "Native American Tribe Gets Federal Funds to Flee Rising Seas"
Also - for consideration from MSN, Julie Demansky/Corbis, "Native American Tribe to relocate from Louisiana Coast as Sea levels Rise"
Lowlander Center Parnters with Tribe