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Coastal Environment

A man is seen on a boat in one of the lakes in the Greater New Orleans area

Coastal Environment Programs

Along with the many benefits that come with a coastal environment, there are distinct challenges facing Greater New Orleans, including coastal land loss as well as flooding and water management challenges.

GNO, Inc. approaches these issues from an economic perspective—protecting the assets and businesses of the region, while also looking for opportunities that arise from the knowledge and expertise our region and people gain while tackling these challenges.

Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy

Recognizing the absence of a unified voice from the greater business community advocating for Coastal Restoration, GNO, Inc. created Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy.  This neutral, non-partisan group of leaders from the Southeast Louisiana business community is positioned as an informed, educated voice of advocacy for sustainable restoration efforts in Louisiana’s wetlands, river, delta and coastline.

CCRE Mission

  • Market the business case for coastal restoration in Louisiana
  • Maximize and leverage dedicated funding and ensure funds are spent on their intended purposes (Louisiana Coastal Master Plan)
  • Create opportunities to engage local businesses and workforce in the implementation

CCRE Principles

  • Track flow of funding to intended uses
  • Communicate in lay terms the urgency of coastal restoration and critical restoration projects
  • Advocate on the federal, state, and local level for sustainable coastal restoration solutions
  • Foster the growth of coastal restoration expertise along Louisiana coast, increasing commerce for local firms

Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan

Greater New Orleans has always contended with flooding from rainfall, but new challenges—from changing climate and rising seas, to an increasingly overburdened and outdated drainage system—will test the ability to adapt, survive, and thrive.

When rainwater falls on New Orleans, it is captured, piped, and pumped out as quickly and completely as possible. But a system designed to pump out every last drop of water leaves our ground unnaturally and unsafely dry, causing the continued sinking of our land, known as subsidence. Not only does subsidence result in cracked streets and broken foundations, it also brings us further below sea level, increases our flood risk, and places even greater burden on our pumps. When it rains we flood; when it’s dry we sink.

Instead of focusing solely on pumping capacity, we must replace the current and entrenched mentality of “pave, pipe, and pump” with the idea of “slow, store, and use”: hold water where it falls, slow the flow into our drainage system, and store large volumes for infiltration and repurposing.

In this re-envisioned system, grey and green infrastructure work together in a more comprehensive, efficient, and effective approach to urban water management. By pumping only when necessary and allowing as much rainwater as possible to infiltrate our soils, we can reduce flooding risk, improve the efficiency of our drainage system, and restore groundwater levels to curtail subsidence.

The Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, can be found at livingwithwater.com.

Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance

GNO, Inc. believes stability, availability and affordability of flood insurance is a critical component of a thriving business environment. To that end, GNO, Inc. established the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance (CSFI) in 2013, in response to implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act, which created unaffordable and unsustainable National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) premiums across the country. Check out more information on CSFI.

Coastal Video Series

Greater New Orleans, Inc., in partnership with the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation and Louisiana Children’s Museum, has created a series of animated videos for Louisiana children to learn more about coastal restoration. The concept for these videos was developed by GNO, Inc.’s Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy (CCRE), a neutral, nonpartisan group of business leaders that creates an informed, educated voice of advocacy for sustainable coastal restoration efforts in Louisiana’s wetlands, coastal, river, and delta.

The three videos, produced by Fat Happy Media, describe the complexities of our state’s relationship with the coast from the viewpoint of Mary Anne the Pel-I-Can, an animated pelican which tours the viewers through her surroundings in the wetlands and beyond. Her storytelling features details that include the role that levees play in impacting the wetlands, an overview of how the Coastal Master Plan works, and the impact that working together as a community can do to help our coast and state.

The videos will be showcased to students around the state through multiple programs, with more to follow in the future:

  • Louisiana Children’s Museum – The museum will be using the videos as part of the lessons to be presented to children during camp sessions throughout the summer. Moving forward, the museum plans to incorporate the videos into the physical space and ongoing educational programming for local students.
  • Louisiana’s Youth Wetlands & Education Outreach Program – This program, in partnership with CPRA, reaches over 300 teachers and over 2000 students at schools around the state.  Leadership from the group has developed activities to accompany the videos to provide further context for the videos.
  • UNO’s Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences Coastal Education Program– This program hosts field trips for numerous schools in our region.  The videos will be utilized as a tool in their educational tool box to compliment the students’ coastal field trip experiences.
  • Lighthouse Museum – Operated by the Pontchartrain Conservancy, the videos will be shown in the Lighthouse Museum’s exhibit as well as the Pontchartrain Conservancy’s experimental lab adjacent to the museum.
  • Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED) – CSED will facilitate the CSED Coastal Restoration Mini-Summer Workshops, in which programming is being developed specifically around three coastal videos produced by GNO, Inc.  The program will comprise of three one-week sessions that will include the preview of one of the three videos each week and be accompanied by keynote discussions led by environmental leaders, hands-on activities, and site visits to coastal habitats within local wetlands and coastal communities that will further enhance education and development around each video.