Category Archives: environment

The Corps gets public input for MRGO ecosystem plan

Last week, on November 3 and November 6, the Army Corps of Engineers held two meetings around New Orleans to solicit public input on a plan aimed at restoring and maintaining the areas affected by the now de-authorized Mississippi River Gulf Coast Outlet (MRGO).  The Corps invited public input on two major issues:

1. What are the most important issues, resources, benefits, and impacts that should be considered?

2. Are there any other restoration features or modifications to the restoration features identified that should be considered?

The real question is whether the Corps was really seeking input for the plan, or whether they were conducting the sessions as a mere formality?  Indeed, the public notice released by the Corps states that the public meeting is required for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

While most agree that Katrina turned MRGO into a hurricane highway that contributed to the city’s flooding, closing the channel outright seems like an extreme step, particularly in light of the fact that other measures, like flood gates and wetland restoration, could be designed and built to protect urban areas from flooding while still providing the shipping industry with a short route to the gulf.  I guess it becomes a question of resources…how much would it all cost and do the benefits outweigh the expenses?

The Green Corridor Plan seems to be a politically impossible, yet logical solution to the MRGO problem, the State’s energy concerns, and economic development in the New Orleans region.

From Greencorridor.org:

The “Green Corridor Solution” is not just a plan, but a system. A system designed to solve most of the major problems facing Louisiana today – Permanent Wetlands Funding, Green Energy, Hurricane Protection, Economic Development, Habitat Restoration and National Political Acceptance to create a stable future for Louisiana and its citizens.

The system is designed to utilize all of Louisiana’s assets to bring together one plan of action, create 150,000 permanent jobs and start an era of economic expansion that will be unequaled in the modern world.

If any of the following are important to you, then Green Corridor can use your support.

  • Permanent wetlands restoration & funding
  • True protection for the city of New Orleans
  • Fuel adjustment charge “off” your utility bill
  • Reduce need for fossil fuels & lower our carbon footprint
  • 150,000 permanent new jobs
  • Beaches in Louisiana
  • New Orleans the Queen of the South, again!

Can the massive GreenCorridor plan gain enough traction to overcome the critics?

Click here for the master plan.

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Filed under environment, Louisiana, New Orleans, Politics

How to establish a community garden?

Anyone can do it through crowd-powered neighbor collaboration.  Parkway Partners in New Orleans has been doing it for 26 years.  Parkway’s mission is to empower residents to improve quality of life through the preservation, maintenance, and beautification of neatrual grounds, green spaces, playgrounds, parks, community gardens and the urban forest in New Orleans.  Among many other programs, Parkway works with neighborhoods to create community gardens.   Their process for turning the idea into reality comes in several steps:

  1. Identify a vacant area and gather a group of interested neighbors. Select a representative to act as liaison with Parkway Partners
  2. Contact Parkway partners and tell them about the project.  Gather data on addresses to the  buildings adjacent to the vacant property.
  3. Parkway Partners begins the research necessary to identify the owner and obtain permission for its use.
  4. Meet with neighbors to establish interest.  Schedule a meeting of interested neighbors.  Once a commitment to the garden is assured, select a project coordinator to schedule a meeting with a representative of Parkway Partners
  5. Clean-up day is organized for the site once permission to use the property has been granted.
  6. Make a Plan.  A garden plan is designed by the neighbors in conjunction with Parkway Partners and gardeners.
  7. Raise funds.  Money must be raised from public and private sources to establish and maintain the site.  Often, the city department that manages parks will help with maintenance.
  8. Finally, the framing is set in, soil is amended and the garden is planted!

More about Community gardens at the Neighborhood Partnership Network in New Orleans.

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Filed under community, crowdsourcing, environment, New Orleans