Report: Gulf and Atlantic Coasts Not Prepared for Sea-Level Rise
Five New Orleans environmental and community groups and the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board will receive grants totaling more than $338,000 to address water issues, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday (July 17).
The grants are aimed at educating the public about reduced pollutants in Lake Pontchartrain, assuring that rainwater runoff retention projects help reduce pollutants carried by rainfall to the lake, and assuring those projects don't help breed mosquitoes.
They're among $2.08 million in grants awarded to 36 organizations in 17 states and Puerto Rico for similar water environment projects.
"Restoration of Lake Pontchartrain and its waterways will improve public health, provide additional recreational opportunities and boost the local economy," said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry, in news releases announcing the grants. "Work by grant awardees and partner state agencies makes certain the lake continues to benefit our communities for many years to come."
Global Green stormwater workshops
Global Green USA, in partnership with Water Works and Dana Brown and Associates, will receive $46,884 to conduct neighborhood workshops to introduce homeowners to cost-effective, do-it-yourself stormwater best management practices they can install themselves.
The program also will include tours of sites showcasing watershed protection and management through the use of green infrastructure. The tours will focus on examples of best management practices including some included in the city's Urban Waters Management Plan.
"We've brought together a team of scientists, landscape architects and community leaders who are committed to educating flood-prone communities on do-it-yourself green infrastructure," said Global Green USA president and chief executive Les McCabe in a news release announcing the grant.The best management practices could include planter boxes that use layers of soil, gravel and sand to hold rainwater from downspouts. The boxes could be made from recycled materials, such as old wooden barrels, or bath tubs, and could contain layers to help absorb and clean water.
Another alternative is a French drain, a long, narrow, gravel-filled ditch that catches and treats stormwater runoff. The trenches can be used in narrow spaces along buildings and driveways, and for receiving water from downspouts.
The trench allows water to infiltrate into deeper soil while the gravel traps pollutant and sediment and reduces peak water flows.
Global Green USA is the American affiliate of Green Cross International, which promotes sustainability, and is a leader in promoting green building practices.
Lake Pontchartrain health, safety, focus of grant
The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation will receive $60,000 to help revitalize the New Orleans lakefront along Lake Pontchartrain, including a three-mile stretch of Pontchartrain Beach.
Foundation executive director John Lopez said the money will be aimed at educating New Orleans residents on issues involving the use of the lakefront, including swim safety issues and how the lake's water quality has improved.
The education program will also be aimed at the city's growing Hispanic community, Lopez said.
The south shore of the lake has been delisted as dangerous for swimming on the basis of bacterial contamination since 2006, in part because of weekly monitoring sponsored by the foundation.
However, Pontchartrain Beach, located just north of the University of New Orleans campus and controlled by the university, is still not officially open for swimming – in part because of concerns about safety.
Lopez said he hopes the education program funded by the grant will speed its reopening.
"This will be part of our 'Enjoy Our Lake' program," Lopez said. "We want to see people enjoy and use the lake."
The program will also focus on safety issues involving the remaining part of the city's lakefront, which is bordered by a stairstep concrete floodwall
The steps often are slippery and erosion holes just offshore can be dangerous to those who don't know how to swim.
The foundation also will publish a "Guide to the Southshore Lakefront" to promote safe recreation and tell the story of the lake's recovery. As the growing Hispanic community is discovering the lakefront, new literature and signage will be published in Spanish and English.
Lower 9th Ward's Green Slice to expand
Groundwork New Orleans will use its $60,000 grant to expand its Green Slice project in the Lower 9th Ward, a stretch of Caffin Avenue between Bayou Bienvenue and the Mississippi River that is being redesigned to explain how neighborhood-level watershed and habitat design can reduce susceptibility to flooding.
The project is installing low-impact stormwater retrofits and habitat enhancements along the corridor, which is anchored by Global Green's Holy Cross Project.
The project will include an education program at the Dr. Martin Luther King School that will include student research projects.
The Groundwork grant also will finance an environmental stewardship curriculum for its Green Team youth employment program, which includes youngsters between 14 and 18 years old.
Wetland restoration projects to be monitored
In partnership with an existing network of local volunteers and restoration organizations, the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab) will use a $52,185 grant to train community members and wetland restoration advocates to monitor and track progress at eight ongoing urban wetland restoration projects in the Lake Pontchartrain area.
The training will include introduction to basic science, technology, engineering and math concepts, known as STEM in the education community, through real-life applications and investigation involving local urban water issues.
"Wetland restoration is critical for the future of the Gulf Coast but is not possible without the support and involvement of local residents," said Public Lab executive director Shannon Dosemagen in a news release announcing the grant.
The Public Laboratory is a nonprofit that develops and applies "open source tools," such as phone apps and cameras used by the public, to explore and investigate the environment. It's goal is to increase the ability of underserved communities to identify, publicize and remediate community environmental health concerns.
Pontilly mosquito breeding, water quality to be tracked
The Bayou Land Resource Conservation and Development Council will use a $59,000 grant to evaluate the impact of green infrastructure on mosquito breeding and surface water quality in the Pontchartrain Park and Gentilly Woods – Pontilly – neighborhoods.
Interns working for the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board will trap and identify the species of mosquitoes at rain gardens used to retain rainfall and in New Orleans Redevelopment Agency lots that are being redeveloped into wetlands, said Bayou Land's Jen Roberts. Water Works and Bayou Land will train and pay residents to also assess the quality of water entering and existing the rain gardens during rain events, and use that information to guide the design of future rain gardens.
The lots are supposed to drain within 48 to 72 hours, and the testing will determine whether they are draining properly, which should prevent them from becoming mosquito breeding habitats, or whether they will require adjustments or the use of a biological control, such as a mosquito larvacide, in areas holding water too long.
"The work we are doing will make a positive impact for both the environment and public safety," said Joe Baucum, a Bayou Land board member. "Our goal is to grow the local knowledge base to incorporate sustainable practices that improve quality of life and demonstrate a clear commitment to make Lake Pontchartrain an example of sustainability."
The Bayou Land council is a non-profit that promotes natural resource restoration and conservation, and community development throughout southeastern Louisiana.
Urban runoff in Pontilly to be monitored
The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board received a $60,000 grant to implement its own Green Infrastructure Monitoring Project in the Pontilly neighborhoods.
The money will be used to conduct water quality monitoring in the Pontilly neighborhoods at five fixed locations, with the information providing a baseline understanding of the quality of urban runoff water before green infrastructure projects aimed at treating runoff are built. The stations will continue monitoring for a year after the infrastructure improvements are completed.
Officials expect that the quality of runoff water will improve as the sites are built, which will reduce pollutants that eventually enter Lake Pontchartrain.
Fellows may be legally organized as a for-profit or non-profit. However, only for-profit ventures will be eligible to pitch for a $10,000 cash prize during the Water Challenge Day on Monday, March 23rd, 2015, at the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.
The Water DataShed Project
By Water Works
featuring Miriam Belblidia, Jen Roberts, Tyler Antrup, & Jennifer Ruley
Garden Study Center at the New Orleans Botanical Garden
6:00pm | June 11th
$15 Public/ $10 USGBC Louisiana Members
The Water DataShed presentation will focus on how cities can use public spaces to engage and reconnect communities with their watershed. Public spaces, such as the Lafitte Greenway, present educational opportunities to tie together ecological, historical, and cultural dimensions of water. This presentation will showcase the proposed Water DataShed as an example of how simple design features, coupled with low cost environmental monitoring tools, can create interactive spaces that allow citizens to be active participants in their watershed.
1. Attendees will learn how the Water DataShed project is an example of utilizing public spaces as educational opportunities to reconnect communities to their watershed.
2. Attendees will learn how ecological, historical, and cultural dimensions of water can be incorporated in public landscapes.
3. Attendees will learn how community members can participate in environmental monitoring.
4. Attendees will actively participate in the workshop, giving feedback on the Water DataShed design and helping brainstorm ways in which social media, tactile, and audible components can make public spaces more interactive and educational.
- Focus on data collection/citizen science
- Tying together ecological, historical, and cultural dimensions of water
Audience benefits:- Can use the Water DataShed concept as a model for integrating watershed education into other public spaces/projects
Thanks to Don Blancher for the following info!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EVENT & WEBCAST ADVISORY:
Value of Water Coalition to Host Panel on Critical State of U.S. Water Infrastructure
Panel to be webcast as part of Infrastructure Week 2014
To address this disconnect, the Value of Water Coalition will host an in-depth conversation on the current condition of water infrastructure in the United States, the consequences of letting these failing systems worsen, and solutions to meeting the water challenges of today and tomorrow.
WHAT: From Invisible to Invaluable: Changing the Way We Think About Water Infrastructure
RSVP: The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Value of Water Coalition and Its Campaign
The Value of Water Coalition members represent key stakeholders from the water sector. The campaign was formed to collectively leverage efforts to educate the public on the importance of bringing clean, safe, and reliable water to and from every home and community, and the need for sufficient investment in water infrastructure to ensure quality water service for future generations. To learn more, visit www.valueofwater.org.
Current members of the Value of Water Coalition include American Water, American Water Works Association (AWWA), Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), CH2M HILL, MWH Global, National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), United Water, Veolia Water, Water Environment Federation (WEF) and Xylem Inc. The U.S. Water Alliance is project manager for the Coalition.
This program is cosponsored by the Consul General of France, Tulane Law School, the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy, the Tulane/Xavier Center on Bioenvironmental Research, irstea, and Cerema.