Blogging for a Healthy Gulf

Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 10:45am

At the end of November, we will be moving from Julia Street to a new office in the Central Business District. We’re excited about our new space and hope to see you there! As of December 1, 2015 you can reach us by mail at:

       Gulf Restoration Network
       330 Carondelet, 3rd Floor
       New Orleans, LA 70117

All other contact information will remain the same. We look forward to continuing to fight for the health of our gulf in 2016 and beyond.



Megan Meyer is GRN's Membership Coordinator.

Monday, November 16, 2015 - 5:40pm
A lone excavator prowls the restoration project

As wetlands continue to disappear in droves, restoration efforts remain paramount. Rehabilitating these ecosystems reintroduces countless vibrant species, while simultaneously bolstering wind and floodwater defenses. Lest we forget, wetland mitigation is also required by the Clean Water Act’s policy of ‘no net loss.’

This past Wednesday, GRN visited Plaquemines Parish to witness wetland-building firsthand. Our destination was the Jesuit Bend Mitigation Bank, a 338-acre site and the only project currently creating land from dredged river sediment. Thanks to Restoration Systems LLC, in partnership with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, we were able to travel by car, riverboat, and airboat to see the full, massive scope of this engineering endeavor.

The whole operation is set into motion by a floating behemoth that stirs up sediment some seventy feet below the River’s surface. Once loosened, the muddy mixture is pumped multiple miles downriver via pipeline: underwater, under LA 23, under the...

Monday, November 16, 2015 - 3:44am
gooey tar pervades the sand of grand isle state park, just below the surface

As the Department of Justice moves closer to finalizing the settlement with BP, there is much that leaves us unsettled. Our trip to Grand Isle State Park this past Saturday, 14 November, offered more than a stroll in the sand. 

Many of the usual tar balls were scattered on the beach just yards away from the fishing pier. These hardened, weathered chunks of asphaltene are scattered among mangrove seeds--many of which were sprouting in this unusually warm November. 

More disturbing than these barren seeds of BP's greed, however, are the layers of black revealed by a trench dug only a foot and a half into the sand. Scraping back the surface of the beach has revealed stinking gray and black layers that remain just out of sight. 

This 'tar sand' is saturated with black. When squeezed, it deforms to the contour of a gloved fist. It stinks like a fresh road. This is our state...

Friday, November 13, 2015 - 10:47am

Yellow Eyed CreaturesGulf Restoration Network is proud to partner with the regional premiere of "Yellow Eyed Creatures," a theatre production which will be staged outdoors in New Orleans City Park in November. A modern retelling of the Genesis myth set in the swamps of Louisiana, "Yellow Eyed Creatures" unearths a new interpretation of humanity’s bond with nature and the need to protect our wild places. 

Below we’ve interviewed Ariadne Blayde, the play’s award-winning author, about her writing process and the play’s environmental themes. 

GRN: Tell us more about “Yellow Eyed Creatures.” What’s the production about?

Ariadne Blayde: Part parable, part coming-of-age story, “Yellow Eyed Creatures” is about two teenage girls who’ve lived their whole lives in the wild. When a boy their age arrives from the outside world, the allure of civilization becomes very tempting, and they must ultimately decide whether or not to...

Thursday, November 12, 2015 - 1:14pm

Staff PhotoJust as the seasons are changing here in the Gulf coast (albeit slowly), GRN’s staff is also undergoing some changes. A few long-time team members are moving on to fresh adventures, current staff are taking on new roles and brand new folks are joining the fight for a healthy Gulf. 

Last month, we were sad to say goodbye to Jonathan Henderson, our Coastal Resiliency Organizer, who headed our monitoring work in the wake of the BP drilling disaster. Jonathan will continue to focus on protecting the Gulf with his new endeavor, Vanishing Earth, and we look forward to working with him. Scott Eustis, GRN’s Coastal Wetland Specialist, will be taking over much of our monitoring work. Several other members of our staff also moved on over the past year, and you can read more about that on page 5 of our...

Thursday, November 5, 2015 - 1:50pm

Over the past few months, GRN was able to achieve several important victories. As usual, we couldn't have done this important work without our supporters.

Check them out here:

  • Coast Over Coal: On December 23, 2014, a state judge responded to a lawsuit filed by GRN and our partners by revoking RAM Terminal’s coastal use permit for a proposed coal export facility in Plaquemines Parish, LA. Weeks later, the Plaquemines Parish Council voted to deny RAM a key construction permit. These decisions dealt a major blow to RAM’s plan to build a dirty coal export terminal adjacent to a coastal restoration site. However, RAM is still trying to build its coal export terminal - we’ll keep you abreast of opportunities to get involved.    
  • Restoration Dollars to Help Bluefin: In a win-win for bluefin tuna and fishermen! The
  • ...
Friday, October 30, 2015 - 1:51pm

This weekend marks nine years of partnership between Gulf Restoration Network and Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. Each year, GRN joins thousands of festival goers in New Orleans’ City Park for a weekend full of incredible music, great food, compelling art and good times.

Just like in years past, GRN has a booth at the festival, and our volunteers and staff will be around talking with festival goers about our work to defend the Gulf’s coast and communities. If you are at Voodoo this weekend, come and find us! (Our booth is full of cool goodies including t-shirts, a photobooth and an epic Drawing Robot from Zehnder Communications that will be churning out custom images all weekend. Be sure to stop by!)

Ryan BinghamWe all know that New Orleans is home to some of the richest musical and cultural traditions...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 11:25am

SOSDeep in the swamplands of the Southeast, a mother black bear accompanies her year-old cubs to dig up dinner out of a hollow bald cypress. This beautiful creature and her family rely on the bottomland hardwood forests for sustenance and survival.

But while the black bear calls these Southeastern bottomland hardwood forests home, the biomass industry only sees profit. This destructive industry has put the black bear’s habitat in danger, and she along with her fellow wildlife need your help.

Today, GRN is partnering with Dogwood Alliance and many others in a National Day of Action to save our southern forests. Our forests aren’t fuel - take action now to protect these precious forests.

What the biomass industry calls “waste,” black bears and other creatures call “home.” Our hardwood forests are being clear-cut, processed into wood pellets and then...

Friday, October 23, 2015 - 10:37am

Southeast Market Pipelines ProjectDestructive pipeline projects are popping up everywhere - threatening our environments and our communities. Right now, the waterways, wildlife, wetlands and forests of the southeast are at risk. Gas companies want to run over 600 miles of underground gas pipeline through the Gulf south – cutting through Alabama, into Georgia and across dozens of Florida counties. This project will destroy hundreds of acres of wetlands, threaten scores of important waterbodies and place communities at risk. Take action now to demand that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reject the Southeast Market Pipelines Project.

Currently, the FERC is accepting comments on a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) to consider the impacts of the Southeast Market Pipelines Project. This project includes a labyrinth of pipelines - the longest and most destructive portion is the Sabal Trail pipeline. If approved, this project...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 3:16pm
Hiram Boone at State Senate
Hiram Boone is questioned by Senate Ports and Marine Resources Committee

Mississippi Senator Brice Wiggins convened the Senate Ports and Marine Resources Committee in Jackson on Wednesday morning, October 21st, and the first item on the agenda was an examination of the Big Cedar Creek Dams and Lakes proposed for George and Jackson Counties. These lakes are being promoted to provide extra water to the Pascagoula River during droughts. Wiggins invited five witnesses to speak. First was Hiram Boone, Executive Director, of the Pat Harrison Waterway District that is proposing the lakes and has submitted a major wetland fill permit to the Mobile District Corps of Engineers. Senator Wiggins asked Boone if he was aware that Jackson County was now backing off of its support for the lakes. Boone replied “No.” Wiggins told Boone that industries he’s talked to in his Senate District in Jackson County are not saying that they need the lake project.

Mr. Boone admitted something I...