All Aboard the SOUL Train

The Greater New Orleans region is defined by our relationship with water, which brings economic and recreational opportunities. However, our abundance of water also brings the challenge of flood risk. Our region experiences two distinct kinds of flooding: smaller-scale, localized flooding from rainfall and the potential for larger-scale flooding from tropical storms. Both kinds of flooding can cause safety concerns and damage to property. Additionally, we experience subsidence (land sinking) which is impacted by how we have historically dealt with our flood risk. Fortunately, we have many options for reducing, or mitigating, our flood risk and increasing our region’s resilience.

New Orleans receives an average of 64 inches of rain every year, a number that might increase as precipitation patterns change. This year, some neighborhoods have already received around 75 inches of rain, and due to the topography of our land much of this stormwater must be pumped into our surrounding water bodies, such as Lake Pontchartrain. When excessive rainfall overwhelms our drainage system, water can back up and cause localized flooding. To reduce localized flooding, we can reduce the burden on our gray infrastructure (including our catch basins, pipes, pumps, and canals) by supplementing it with green infrastructure. These are systems that store, absorb, and filter water using native plants and other elements that slow runoff and allow water to be absorbed into the ground. Examples of green infrastructure include permeable pavement, rain gardens, bioswales, rain barrels, and French drains. The Sewerage and Water Board and City of New Orleans, as well as nonprofit groups and local companies, have begun implementing green infrastructure throughout New Orleans. We need to expand these programs to mitigate the localized flooding still evident in many neighborhoods and to keep up with increasing rainfall.

New Orleans also experiences flood risk from tropical storms. Hurricane season typically runs from June 1 until November 30, and residents are advised to keep close watch on forecasts should storms impact our region. In New Orleans, we are protected to the 1% annual chance flood risk ( aka 100-year storm) by the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRR), a massive system of levees, floodwalls, and a surge barrier. However, residual flood risk remains, which may require evacuation or sheltering in place. In addition to our infrastructure to mitigate storm surge, our natural barriers of wetlands are critically important to reducing our flood risk during tropical storms. Restoration projects in Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan are vital for New Orleans safety in the face of land loss and sea level rise.

The soils in the New Orleans region are prone to subsidence, or land sinking, which is exacerbated by overreliance on our pumping system. When rainwater is not able to infiltrate into the ground due to impervious land cover (such as concrete) and is instead pumped out of the city, the soils dry up and subside. Our soil can be compared to a wet sponge left on the kitchen counter; as it dries, it contracts and shrinks. This causes damage to our streets and homes, and increases our flood risk. In fact, it is a major reason that some neighborhoods now lie below sea level. We cannot reverse all forms of subsidence but we can slow future subsidence associated with the de-watering of soils by actively managing our groundwater, thereby prolonging the life of our infrastructure and addressing flood risk. For more information, please contact Nathan Lott, director of the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans at nathan@nolawater.org.

The information above was made possible in part by the generous support of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. Learn more at gnof.org/environment.

It is clear that we need to shift our mindset about stormwater in New Orleans.

So, what should we do moving forward? We need to keep as much water as possible out of our drainage system.

Here are some examples of how to do this.

1. PLANT TREES! Trees drink hundreds of gallons of stormwater daily, with Bald Cypress absorbing up to 880 gallons! The more trees are clustered, the more stormwater they can impact. In fact, can you imagine if we had had a healthy and dense urban forest last Saturday? We have room for one million trees in New Orleans. We could have absorbed hundreds of millions of gallons of water that instead flooded our streets.

2. REMOVE CONCRETE and impermeable surfaces so that water can soak back into the ground and stay out of the drains. The Urban Conservancy’s Front Yard Initiative is a great resource for concrete removal.

3. STORE YOUR WATER. Water detention can take on many forms. One option is “harvesting” your roof water in a rain barrel and reusing it for watering plants. Or you can capture and detain it on your property in a rain garden or bioswale. Check out Green Light New Orleans and ReCharge NOLA for rain barrel resources. If you’re interested in building a stormwater detention landscape, Evans and Lighter, Spackman, Mossop, Michaels, and Dana Brown and Associates are the local landscape architecture firms with extensive “green infrastructure” experience.

More Trees Means Less Flooding
Read Stephanie Bruno’s Advocate article about SOUL and our strategy for reforesting New Orleans!

Call for Block Captains
If you want to see trees in your neighborhood, then consider becoming a block captain! Block captains are vital to shaping the reforestation of their neighborhoods. Being a block captain involves talking to neighbors and asking them to sign up for trees by signing a permit. We are offering a block captain training

Sign up to be a block captain and we’ll contact you soon.

Email Scott with questions.

Advocacy & Policy
SOUL is very excited to announce that its recommendations were accepted into New Orleans’ Master Plan. We are grateful to Cm. Cantrell’s office for their guidance and support throughout this process. Explore our recommendations on SOUL’s website

Our next step is to propose changes to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) regarding protecting valuable trees on private property and introducing heritage tree legislation.

Tree Tips by Tim • Don’t Love Your Tree To Death
Remember- if you received one of our trees last year- don’t prune yet. Young trees are already under a lot of stress and pruning too early can cause “sun scald.” If you’re itching to tend to your tree, restrict your pruning to dead branches, and keep 2-3″ of mulch around the base of your tree without touching its trunk. Don’t overwater your tree during this rainy time. It’s also time to loosen your support if you staked your tree. This helps this tree flex and develop its strength.

Tim Benton is a licensed arborist who practices in New Orleans. www.bentontreeservice.com & Facebook

Check out our Upcoming Events!

Our goal is to plant 600 large native trees this year!
Want a tree (for free)?
If you live in one of our partner communities- Mid-City, Broadmoor, or Algiers/Algiers Point, and want a tree, sign up here.

Want to volunteer and help plant trees?
Sign up here.

Our goal is to cluster trees in our partner communities. We prefer to plant twenty trees on one block than twenty trees on twenty blocks. Clustering allows the trees to more quickly impact stormwater, subsidence, shade and their other benefits.

Donate today so that we can plant native water-loving trees!

Benefits of Urban Greening
https://www.fuf.net/benefits-of-urban-greening/
It’s obvious that street trees and sidewalk gardens beautify our urban environment.  They provide so many other benefits that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and city planners regard them as part of a city’s “green infrastructure.”

Trees increase property value
Street trees increase the “curb appeal” of properties.  A study of the sale of houses in Portland, Oregon found that on average, street trees add 3% to the median sale price of a house and reduce its time-on-market by 1.7 days.

Trees produce oxygen, clean the air and reduce global warming
Trees release oxygen as a product of photosynthesis.  Two medium-sized, healthy trees can supply the oxygen required for a single person for a year.  Trees clean the air by absorbing greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming; they store carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, in their stems and leaves.  Trees capture airborne particles such as dirt, dust and soot; a mature tree can absorb120-240 lbs of particulate pollution each year.  A 2008 study by researchers at Columbia University found that more trees in urban neighborhoods correlate with a lower incidence of asthma.

Trees and sidewalk gardens reduce flooding and water pollution

Trees calm traffic
The presence of trees reduces the speed of drivers, and reduces the frequency and severity of crashes.

Trees and sidewalk gardens increase revenues in shopping districts
Consumers have a 12% higher willingness to pay for goods and services in retail areas that have streetscape greening such as street trees and sidewalk gardens.

Trees and sidewalk gardens may reduce crime
The greener a building’s surroundings, the fewer reported crimes.  Apartment buildings with high levels of greenery had 52% fewer crimes than those without any trees.  “Green” spaces are used more frequently (by pedestrians and for recreation), which increases “eyes on the street” and deters would-be criminals. Residents living in “greener” surroundings report lower levels of fear, fewer incivilities, and less violent behavior, because greenery promotes a greater sense of community and alleviates mental fatigue, a precursor to violent behavior. (see source)

Trees and sidewalk gardens promote exercise
In a neighborhood with more street trees and other plants, people judge walking distances to be less, and are therefore more likely to travel on foot, which has health benefits. (see source)

And more benefits…
Trees can make the wait for a bus feel shorter.
Street trees and sidewalk gardens create a physical and mental barrier between the street and the sidewalk, keeping pedestrians, children and pets out of harm’s way.
Street trees and sidewalk gardens provide a natural habitat for birds and insects.
Street trees absorb traffic noise and increase privacy.
Street trees and sidewalk gardens build neighborhood and civic pride.
Neighborhood planting events strengthen communities and bring neighbors together.

 

Everybody loves a party, and nobody loves a good time more than New Orleans, particularly during Mardi Gras when nearly one and a half million visitors flood the city, more than tripling its usual population. But after any good time, there is a lot to clean up from the festivities, and street trash is an overwhelming burden. This year the city had help, thanks to the Wing-Gate automatic retractable screen (ARS) stormwater inlet protection devices from California-based United Storm Water Inc. and United Pumping Services.

Company stormwater sales manager Terry Flury explains how the specialized protection devices help municipalities cope with the everyday headache of trapping trash and protecting stormwater. “Although we originated in southern California, compliance with increasingly stringent policies of municipal separate stormwater sewer systems [MS4s] across the country is helping drive our popularity. Our full-capture devices are all stainless steel and have a five-millimeter perforated screen that prevents items as small as a cigarette butt from entering storm drains.

“We also have stormwater filter DrainPacs that filter out hydrocarbons, and we can customize the filter media to address whatever the customer needs. For example, if you’re concerned about heavy metals, oils, or fertilizer, the filter media could be Perlite, activated carbon, or whatever you might need to address the problem.”

And customizing the product is all in a day’s work, even when it’s a rush to meet the deadline for arguably the country’s biggest, or at least most enthusiastic, outdoor party.

“We recently did a Wing-Gate screen install on Bourbon Street in New Orleans,” explains Flury, “and we had to come up with a special design. Our standard ARS screens are configured completely different and could not accommodate the New Orleans street grate models, which are very unusual and strange looking, made around 1900, and all cast iron with multi-phased support legs.”

Flury says the city wanted something in place by Mardi Gras 2016, so the design team was challenged to come up with a new configuration.

“We did a pilot test of 30 basins and came up with a Wing-Gate design that was completely different. This went through [the city’s] approval process and we had the screens in place well before Mardi Gras.”

City officials were pleased, he says. “We’re now working on a plan to eventually do the whole city.”

The Wing-Gate devices, he explains, are automatic retractable screens that respond to the incoming water, both retaining trash and allowing water to flow. The ARS fits right into the curb openings; in dry months the screen prevents trash from entering the catch basins, and during rain events it opens after water reaches about 40% of curb height. Connector screens then act as a second line of defense for debris, protecting the outlet pipes.

Sometimes meeting client needs has to address more than making a new size or configuration. Flury describes how the bright stainless steel of the ARS was virtually a magnet for scrap collectors in some urban areas. “So for customers who need it, what we’ve done is simply finish the stainless in flat black paint with a powder coating, which replicates plastic and draws far less attention and protects their investment.”

Since the company actually comprises two entities—United Stormwater and United Pumping—Flury says they can manage not only client stormwater needs, but also hazardous waste.

“If we run into a hazardous waste issue, we can act in a remedial capacity. For example, if we run into an oil spill, oil in storm drains, our crews will come and dam up the area and either broom off or vacuum the oil. We really have the best of both worlds when it comes to managing and protecting our water.”

***

article below by R. Stephanie Bruno and courtesy
The Advocate

Susannah Burley was dealing with an insurance adjuster when I caught up with her to talk about green infrastructure in the aftermath of the most recent unexpected New Orleans flood.

“I live in the Fairgrounds Triangle neighborhood, and we got water inside of our rental property and both cars,” she lamented. “My husband’s car will be OK, but the adjuster wants to total mine.”

I met Burley a couple of years ago when she led the education program at Parkway Partners and I took the “Green Keepers” classes. Burley became so committed to the idea of using rain gardens, retention ponds and appropriate street plantings to reduce flooding that she left Parkway Partners and founded a new nonprofit, SOUL NOLA, in June 2016.

“It’s an acronym for Sustaining Our Urban Landscape, and the idea is to work neighborhood by neighborhood to help residents form a strategic plan to reduce dramatically the amount of stormwater that goes into catch basins and the drainage system,” said Burley, who also holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from LSU.
“We had a lesson last weekend in the limits of what drainage systems can do … and we know it won’t stop flooding in the future. We need green infrastructure.”

The catastrophic flooding of last weekend appears to be the result of problems with the pumps and an abnormally large volume of rain in a short period of time. Yet Burley said that a robust approach to creating “green infrastructure” citywide might have reduced the flooding by keeping rain water out of the streets.

If the terms “green” and “infrastructure” don’t seem like they belong together, Burley says it’s because the idea is new to most cities.

Before Hurricane Katrina, the goal was to ensure that rainwater reached the drainage system as quickly as possible so it could be pumped to Lake Pontchartrain. Thinking has changed.

Now the idea is to deal with rainwater where it falls and to find ways to retain it or slow its path to the drainage system so the system won’t be overwhelmed and so rain can seep into the ground and replenish groundwater, important to reducing subsidence. Rain barrels, rain gardens and the like are some obvious ways to do it.

“At City Hall Tuesday, we learned what it would take to completely rebuild the drainage system to handle more water — it’s not going to happen,” Burley said, referring to the public meeting held to discuss the flood.

“So green infrastructure has to become part of the city’s plan for the future. As long as we pin our hopes on the drainage system and ignore the benefits of using green infrastructure to handle stormwater, we’re going to flood over and over again.”

SOUL is working with neighborhood leaders in Mid-City and Algiers and is in the planning phases with Broadmoor on a project aimed at reforesting the city, one neighborhood at a time.

“There are so many different options for green infrastructure, but right now we are focusing on tree planting. Did you know that New Orleans is the most deforested city in the United States?” Burley asked. “Estimates are that New Orleans can accommodate a million more trees than we currently have — a million! Though our ‘Ya Dig?’ program, we planted 190 trees last year and will plant 600 this year. Once the neighborhoods we are working with are reforested, we’ll expand to more neighborhoods.”

Burley says trees are critical to helping manage storm water because they drink it up, thereby keeping it out of the vulnerable storm water drainage system. The bigger the tree, the greater the water storage capacity, she said.
Some of the thirstiest include Sweetbay magnolia, pond and bald cypress, and red maples.

A map on SOUL’s website shows the locations of trees planted to date. Every time volunteers and neighbors sink another one into the ground, its location is plotted on the map.

Click on a tree icon and see the address of the property where the tree was installed, the tree type and the container size. SOUL monitors tree health and condition after planting, but it is up to the residents and neighbors to keep the tree sufficiently watered the first year.

Live oaks, sweet bay and Little Gem magnolias, Drummond red maples, native fringe trees and Savannah hollies are a few of the tree types that appear on the map. Larger trees (live oaks) have been planted on neutral grounds and smaller trees (small magnolias, for example) on residential properties at the owner’s request.

Burley said, “We need to stop thinking of trees and greenery as merely ornamental and think of them for what they are — our front-line defense against flooding.”

***

below from waterwisenola.org

DIY Guide to Simple Rainwater Harvesting

Stormwater Compendium
Compendium of Urban Water Management Developments in Southeast;

Stormwater Compendium Site Map – New Orleans
Map of Urban Water developments in New Orleans

Joy of Water Cookbook
Booklet with information on how to install stormwater management on your lot

HCP water management fact sheet

WaterWise Workshop vocabulary

Neighborhood Green Infrastructure Presentation

Managing Water Where It Falls

***

American Red Cross

504-620-3105
The Red Cross continues to work closely with local officials and partners to provide support to those affected by flooding in New Orleans this past weekend. Currently, the Red Cross is coordinating with local government to assist with damage assessment, as well as providing cleaning kits and recovery planning support to affected individuals and families. Contact the American Red Cross at 504-620-3105.

Cajun Army

www.thecajunarmy.com external link
If you need assistance with cleanup, sign up on the website or call Windy at 504-982-6333.

NOLA Tree Project

504-415-8434
connie@nolatreeproject.org
NOLA Tree Project can coordinate volunteers, tools, and cleaning supplies to help with cleanup activities. Contact them for volunteer opportunities or to request assistance.

Rebuilding Together New Orleans

504-581-7032
Rebuilding Together New Orleans, a program of the PRC, helps homeowners with critical home repair services by utilizing volunteers. If your home received damage and you need help, contact the intake department at 504-581-7032. If you want to help, contact Volunteer Manager Kat at 504-636-3075 or kschweitzer@prcno.org.

SBP

SBP can help homeowners whose homes were impacted by the flooding. Volunteers can assist with gutting and mold remediation. Contact Judy at JMartens@SBPUSA.org for volunteer opportunities. Homeowners in need of assistance should contact the client services department at 504-644-4639. SBP provides free resources (mold remediation, basic insurance guide, avoiding contractor fraud) for residents affected by disasters. These guides can all be accessed and downloaded from http://sbpusa.org/start-here/ external link.

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services

504-529-1000 x223
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services can provide legal assistance to tenants who are being evicted or who are being asked to pay for repairs by their landlords due to flooding. Go to their office at 1010 Commons Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 9-3 and bring proof of income, lease, and any other important documents.

If your organization is accepting volunteers or offering services for residents affected by flooding and would like to be listed here, email lamellem@nola.gov.

Clean up Safely

NOLA Ready guide to cleaning up after safely external link

Prevent Mold Growth

  • Clean wet or moldy surfaces with bleach. See the guide on the following page for how to safely clean with bleach.
  • Use fans to dry wet building materials, carpets, and furniture.
  • Throw away anything that you can’t clean or dry quickly.
  • If mold growth is large, contact a licensed mold removal professional.

Prevent Mosquito Breeding

  • Remove trash and clutter like old tires, buckets, and tarps.
  • Empty standing water from containers like pet dishes, children’s toys, and flowerpots.
  • Keep water fresh in containers like bird baths and kiddie pools.
  • Clean gutters and catch basins.
  • Call 311 to report illegal dumping, abandoned swimming pools, and water leaks.

Organize Debris for Sanitation Pickup

Sanitation collection will occur as scheduled. For properties eligible for collection by the City:

  • During the 2nd collection this week, the Sanitation Department will pick up bulky waste including debris, carpeting and other large items. Residents are encouraged to inform 311 of bulky waste pickup needs.
  • Tree limbs, branches and carpeting must be cut in four feet (or less) lengths and bundled. Tree limbs cannot be more than 12 inches in diameter.
  • Leaves should be bagged and the bags secured.

Resources for Small Businesses Affected by Flooding

Contact the Office of Economic Development

The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development is currently conducting preliminary damage assessments of businesses affected by Saturday’s flooding. If your business was damaged, contact Economic Development at (504) 658-4200.

View the New Orleans Building Hardening Guide

The City of New Orleans Office of Resilience & Sustainability and NOLA Ready have put together a guide on how to protect your business from high winds, flooding, fire, winter weather, and hail. These techniques range from very minor, inexpensive retrofits which you might do by yourself to far more complicated measures which require the assistance of a licensed professional.
View the New Orleans Building Hardening Guide external link.

File a Claim for Flood Damage to Your Home or Business

Read more on how to file a claim from FEMA external link.

Start the Claims Process by Contacting Your Insurer

After experiencing a flood, contact your agent or insurance company to file a claim. Make sure you have the following information handy:

  • The name of your insurance company
  • Your policy number
  • A telephone and/or email address where you can be reached at all times

An adjuster should contact you within a few days of filing your claim. If you do not hear from an adjuster, you can contact your insurance agent or company again.

Document the Damage

Separate damaged from undamaged property. Your adjuster will need evidence of the damage to your home and possessions to prepare your repair estimate.

  • Take photographs of all of the damaged property, including discarded objects, structural damage, and standing floodwater levels.
  • Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their date of purchase, value, and receipts, if possible.
  • Officials may require disposal of damaged items so, if possible, place flooded items outside of the home.

Complete a Proof of Loss to Support Your Claim

Your adjuster will assist you in preparing a Proof of Loss (which is your sworn statement of the amount you are claiming including necessary supporting documentation) for your official claim for damages. A Proof of Loss can be many things, but must contain the specific details set forth in the Standard Flood Insurance Policy. You’ll need to file your Proof of Loss with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood. This document substantiates the insurance claim and is required before the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or insurance company can make payment.

You’ll receive your claim payment after you and the insurer agree on the amount of damages and the insurer has your complete, accurate, and signed Proof of Loss. If major catastrophic flooding occurs, it may take longer to process claims and make payments because of the sheer number of claims submitted.

File a Claim for Flood Damage to Your Vehicle

Contact your car insurance company

Have your policy number and contact information ready.

Flood Repair Permits

Permits directly related to flood damage resulting from the August 5, 2017 flood event will have all associated permitting fees waived. Come to the One Stop Shop prepared with all of the documents that you need to obtain your permit in a single visit. If your building did not experience structural damage, but you still need to repair portions like floors, drywall, cabinetry, and electrical outlets, please click here to learn about the 4 things you will need to get your permit. external link

All Aboard the SOUL Train
Check out more about Sustaining Our Urban Landscape in the link:

 

http://katrinafilm.com/public/wordpress/?p=33273

 

REMOVING CONCRETE DOES REDUCE FLOODING

“Thought you would like to know that our front yard did beautifully yesterday!” This message brought to you by the owners of the Broadmoor house that used to get 8″ in their front yard after a hard rain who participated in the #FrontYardInitiative.

The driveway on the left and bioswale on the right now capture and slow water from entering the city’s system. Photo below shows what used to happen after a one-hour 2″ rain (Broadmoor got 5.49″ in a matter of hours on Aug 5.) Evans + Lighter Landscape Architecture Quality Sitework Materials Truegrid Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans. Details about the program in the link:
http://www.urbanconservancy.org/project/fyi/

The Front Yard Initiative is the Urban Conservancy’s response to excessive yard paving. Rampant front yard paving is a community issue that has broad and significant effects on the city of New Orleans from stormwater to safety.

Stormwater management in New Orleans has been characterized by regularly overwhelmed drainage systems, excessive paving and pumping that has depleted groundwater levels and led to a sinking city, and urban water assets being wasted while hidden behind walls, underground, or pumped into the river and lake. All of these issues and the failure of traditional infrastructure (levees, pipes and pumps) to protect the city from Hurricane Katrina, continuous flooding, and subsidence has led to a shift in mindset regarding the most effective and thoughtful way to manage stormwater in South Louisiana. It is clear that the single-minded approach of rushing stromwater over pavement, into pipes and pumping it out of the city needs to be reevaluated.

Install Rain Barrels Under Your Downspouts to Help Reduce Flooding

While certainly not a solution to flooding, rain barrels reduce the amount of runoff to the City’s pumps and can reduce your water bill if you are an avid gardener and use a lot of water in your garden. If you connect rain barrels to the downspouts they will be more effective. However, I have one on a stand that still provides a lot of water for the garden. More about rain barrels in the link:
Learn more about rain barrels: CLICK HERE

Also in the photo you will notice open containers that I use to collect rainwater. If you use those, be sure to use the water in them relatively quickly so that you don’t help breed mosquitos. After every rain, remove any standing water from around your home. More about mosquitos in the link: http://fsjna.org/2017/08/remove-standing-water/

New Orleans has a Mosquito Control Board. Learn more in the link below:
http://www.nola.gov/RESIDENTS/Mosquito-Termite-and-Rodent-Control-Board/

***

“Thought you would like to know that our front yard did beautifully yesterday!” This message brought to you by the owners of the Broadmoor house that used to get 8″ in their front yard after a hard rain who participated in the #FrontYardInitiative.

The driveway on the left and bioswale on the right now capture and slow water from entering the city’s system. Photo below shows what used to happen after a one-hour 2″ rain (Broadmoor got 5.49″ in a matter of hours on Aug 5.) Evans + Lighter Landscape Architecture Quality Sitework Materials Truegrid Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans. Details about the program in the link:
http://www.urbanconservancy.org/project/fyi/

The Front Yard Initiative is the Urban Conservancy’s response to excessive yard paving. Rampant front yard paving is a community issue that has broad and significant effects on the city of New Orleans from stormwater to safety.

Stormwater management in New Orleans has been characterized by regularly overwhelmed drainage systems, excessive paving and pumping that has depleted groundwater levels and led to a sinking city, and urban water assets being wasted while hidden behind walls, underground, or pumped into the river and lake. All of these issues and the failure of traditional infrastructure (levees, pipes and pumps) to protect the city from Hurricane Katrina, continuous flooding, and subsidence has led to a shift in mindset regarding the most effective and thoughtful way to manage stormwater in South Louisiana. It is clear that the single-minded approach of rushing stromwater over pavement, into pipes and pumping it out of the city needs to be reevaluated.

***

Planting a tree on or near your property can reduce flooding!

Trees in our community provide many services beyond the inherent beauty they lend to streets and properties. One of the most overlooked and underappreciated is their ability to reduce the volume of water rushing through gutters and pipes following a storm. This means less investment in expensive infrastructure and – importantly – cleaner water when the runoff reaches rivers, lakes, and bayous.

Details in the link:
http://www.northlandnemo.org/images/800TreeCityUSABulletin_55.pdf

PLANT A TREE AND HELP REDUCE CRIME!

Click here for the original article.

Click here for a PDF from the LSU Ag Center on why you should plant trees

baltimoreThe city of Baltimore’s high crime rate inspired a gritty TV drama. But a new study (Tinyurl.com/TreeCrimeReport) by the University of Vermont’s Transportation Research Center, in Burlington, found that a 10 percent increase in trees in a given area led to a 12 percent decrease in crime. “It’s really pretty striking how strong this relationship is,” says Austin Troy, lead author of the study, published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning.

Researchers examined the correlation in and around Baltimore using aggregated crime data and combining it with high-resolution satellite images to conduct the analysis. The working hypothesis is that because people enjoy spending time in pleasant outdoor spaces, there are more observers present to hinder criminal activity. Also, a well-maintained landscape seems to send a message that someone may be watching.

To avoid culture bias, the study considered many socioeconomic factors, including housing, age, income and race of residents, as well as variables such as rural versus city setting and population density. The findings should prove helpful to urban planners.

NativeFringeTreeLousiana-500x333Fringetrees are excellent anywhere that a very small tree is needed, such as near a patio, in small yards, or under power lines. Like many white-flowered plants, they look especially nice planted in front of a dark backdrop. They can be used as individual specimens, in groups, in mixed shrub borders or in natural gardens. They are well suited to urban plantings due to pollution tolerance and adaptability to varied soils. Fringetrees are not salt tolerant.

Although fringetrees are adaptable and will grow in most soil types, they prefer moist, deep, well-drained, acidic soils. They grow well in full sun to partial shade. Leaf appearance is best in some shade, but flowering is heaviest in full sun. The ideal compromise would be sun through most of the day, but shade during hot afternoon hours. Fringetrees have low maintenance needs once established.

Due to a naturally strong branch structure fringetrees rarely need pruning. Pruning while young may be desirable if a single stem tree form is preferred. Fringetrees do not transplant well so take care to choose an appropriate permanent location and use proper planting methods. Plant it high, it won’t die!

 

Plant it Low, It Won’t Grow | Plant it High, It Won’t Die

The most important consideration in planting trees and shrubs is the planting depth. Don’t plant too deep!
Plant all trees and shrubs about one inch above the surface of the existing soil. No dirt should be placed on top of the existing roots and nursery soil so as to not smother the root system. Mulch well, leaving a two inch gap around the caliper(s) of the plant.

For the most efficient use of water, construct an earthen berm two to three inches high around the drip zone area of the plant after planting. Water in well after planting!

 

TREES TO PLANT IN NEW ORLEANS

choose-tree

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ONLY WATER GOES INTO CATCH BASINS


Please remind your friends and neighbors to make sure their yard maintenance contractors are not blowing stuff into the storm drains.

· Sec. 66-287.1. – Use of leaf blowers to transfer or direct debris to public drains prohibited.
(1)
Definitions.
Leaf blower. A mechanical, battery-operated or gasoline-powered device which projects pressurized air forward to cause movement of leaves, grass or other debris commonly associated with grass cutting, lawn care, gardening or yard maintenance activities.
Public drain. Includes catch basins or gutters located parallel to public rights-of-way, open segments of city subsurface drainage conduits, flood control and water path canals or drains located on public property and incorporated into the public infrastructure for wastewater management or scipening.
(2)
Use of leaf blower to impede or restrict drainage or water flow prohibited. Use of leaf blower for private or commercial use in any manner which causes or results in the transfer, movement or directing of grass, leaves, yard debris, debris derived from yard maintenance, lawn care or any activities whereby debris is accumulated and projected to public drains or results in impeded water flow of public drains or restricts the public designated purpose of such drains is prohibited by law. Violators shall be subject to citation or administrative adjudication by duly authorized code enforcement officers or duly authorized law enforcement officers.
(M.C.S, Ord. No. 21912, § 1, 4-7-05)

New Orleans Health Department wants to Help You Fight Mosquito-borne Diseases

“Parts of the United States that once had steady precipitation are now experiencing periods of drought punctuated by heavy rainfall. Sudden deluges leave behind puddles of standing water—moisture that mosquitoes need to hatch their eggs. In addition, hotter weather is shortening these eggs’ incubation times, increasing the overall mosquito population. Female mosquitoes are the ones that bite, and warmer weather makes them more likely to do so.” For the rest of the article from the National Resource Defense Council, please visit the link below:
https://www.nrdc.org/stories/climate-change-bites?gclid=Cj0KCQjwtpDMBRC4ARIsADhz5O77pxziJinrMJzvQ4bT-F4GFHjub3rBfSNaO0XdZ5sDIuPHQmAux4AaAiGcEALw_wcB

The New Orleans Health Department would like to remind everyone of the importance of keeping their facilities and homes as mosquito-free as possible.

 

This is important to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, dengue, and West Nile virus. Mosquitoes in New Orleans are able to carry and infect humans with all three diseases. Zika has been proven to be transmitted through unprotected sex.

In order to help you become mosquito-free, the Healthy Environments team at the New Orleans Health Department is happy to visit your facility and offer a number of services.

The New Orleans Health Department can provide mosquito education training which discusses the importance of a mosquito-free environment, risk factors for disease, and personal protection methods.

Additionally, the New Orleans Health Department can provide mosquito repellent or an inspection of your facility to help you make sure that you are doing everything possible to be healthy and mosquito-free.

If your organization is hosting an event and would like for the New Orleans Health Department to attend the event and provide information to participants, please send an email to jefrazier@nola.gov or call (504) 669-2659.

To help keep you and your community safe, follow the tips outlined in the PDF in the link below:
Zika1info

Following a review of existing research on Zika virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has concluded that Zika virus causes microcephaly and other severe brain defects in babies. The CDC finding was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In their review, researchers looked at studies conducted in Brazil and French Polynesia during recent outbreaks of Zika virus. In September 2015, researchers in Brazil reported an increasing in the number of infants with microcephaly. French Polynesia noted a similar increase of this brain defect during an outbreak there in 2013 and 2014.

One Brazilian study of 88 pregnant women infected with Zika who underwent prenatal ultrasonography testing found fetal abnormalities in 29 percent of the cases.

The CDC is concerned that the American public is not well-informed or well-prepared with regard to the Zika virus despite its best efforts. An Associated Press poll found that four out of 10 Americans have heard little or nothing at all about Zika virus.

Ninety percent of Americans who have heard of Zika know it can be spread through the bite of a mosquito carrying the virus but only 57 percent were aware the virus can be spread through sexual intercourse with an infected person.
To date, Americans infected with Zika have acquired it through travel to countries with active mosquito-borne transmission of the virus. The CDC has posted travel warnings for Americans traveling to these Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The CDC has advised women who are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant to avoid travel to Zika- affected areas. It has also expanded the initial guidance to include women’s partners, as it has become more clear that the virus is spread through sexual contact.

Currently, the mosquitoes that carry the virus, Aedes aegyptiand Aedes albopictus, are present in at least 30 U.S. states, according to the CDC. Since no vaccine exists to prevent Zika, the agency is recommending the following preventive measures:

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites.
Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
Use insect repellents, even if pregnant or breast-feeding.
Treat clothing with permethrin.
Prevent sexual transmission by using condoms or abstaining from sex.

Reviewed by Dr. David Priest, medical director for infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship, Novant Health

Article above courtesy Novant Health:
https://www.novanthealth.org/home/about-us/newsroom/healthy-headlines/articleid/279/protect-yourself-from-zika-this-mosquito-season.aspx?mobilewidthcheck=y

The New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board works to enhance the quality of life in New Orleans by monitoring and controlling populations of mosquitoes, termites, and rodents, to reduce rodent and insect-borne disease and destruction.

The Board manages all pest populations in the most environmentally safe, efficient and economical manner.

Integrated Mosquito Control
An integrated mosquito management approach is used by The City of New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board (NOMTCB).  This involves vector population surveillance, public education, larval mosquito habitat reduction, and chemical control of larval and adult mosquitoes. Larval source reduction (i.e. the physical elimination of larval breeding sites) involves the inspection and removal of man-made containers (including tires), clutter and trash around residences. For sites that cannot be removed or drained, biorational larvicides are used to target developmental stages. Adult mosquitoes can be treated on a yard, block or residential level using a variety of equipment; backpack or hand-held sprayers, trucks and airplanes. Click Here for Audio Visual Presentation

For more information about the City of New Orleans Mosquito, Termite, and Rodent Control Board please visit the link below:

https://www.nola.gov/mosquito/

Litter Education for Grades K-5 Receives Unanimous Support

litter educationphoto courtesy keeplouisianabeautiful.org

LITTER EDUCATION RECEIVES UNANIMOUS SUPPORT

By Susan Russell / Executive Director, Keep Louisiana Beautiful

At a time when our national and state politics are fraught with partisan discord, it’s significant to note that there are some policies that find favor on both sides of the aisle. Such a case occurred last month, when House Bill 111, which calls for the incorporation of litter education into the K-5 curriculum, received unanimous support from the House and Senate — to a round of applause. The bill was signed into law earlier this month as Louisiana Act 72, and Governor Edwards gave it his executive approval surrounded by Keep Louisiana Beautiful representatives, Representative Stuart Bishop (R-Lafayette, author of HB111), First Lady Donna Edwards and Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, all of whom have been ardent supporters of anti-litter initiatives in our state.

Much has been said about Louisiana’s dirty habit: we have a crippling litter problem that seems to be getting worse. Much time and resources have been spent bemoaning the problem, pointing well-intentioned fingers in different directions, all trying to find out exactly what the problem is here that you don’t see in many of our neighboring states. As in most complicated social problems, there is no magic bullet to apply to this issue and a multi-pronged approach from all aspects of our society will be required. While parents assume a huge responsibly to teach their children not to litter, we cannot put this squarely on the back of those that are oftentimes the biggest offenders. The problem will only be resolved when all of Louisiana embraces three core initiatives: improving infrastructure and policy to make it easier to reduce littering and increase recycling; increasing enforcement of the litter laws; and influencing behavior change through environmental education. Louisiana Act 72 will go a long way to address the latter.

Teaching environmental stewardship and litter education is the first step we can make towards changing our prevailing cultural attitude from one of environmental disregard to one of true stewardship. Litter education goes beyond simply not throwing trash on the ground– it includes full understanding of the impact of litter on the health of our wildlife, waterways, and economy. Most importantly, it focuses on prevention rather than spotty-at- best treatment.

Keep Louisiana Beautiful, its statewide network of 40 affiliates that boast a combined force of 35,000 volunteers, and all of its many partners and supporters extend a sincere thanks to Representative Stuart Bishop and the state’s top leadership body for supporting legislature that teaches our children environmental responsibility. We hope that this measure will spark a new level of commitment and care for our state and its natural resources.

2017 Bastille Day in Faubourg St. John Celebrates Joie de Vivre

Join the fun in the 3100 block of Ponce de Leon for the Faubourg St. John Bastille Day block party in New Orleans on Saturday (July 15) from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The celebration will include food, music, children’s activities, and an art market. There will also be a contest for the best Marie Antoinette or Napoleon costume.

Many people will enjoy the Faubourg St. John Bastille Day block party in the 3100 block of Ponce de Leon in New Orleans on Saturday, July 15, 2017. The celebration will include food, music, children’s activities, and an art market.

On July 14, 1789 more than 8,000 men and women stormed a prison fortress in Paris known as the Bastille, demanding the release of the political prisoners being held there, plus the prison’s store of weapons. The storming of the Bastille was the spark that set off the French Revolution, an event that had a significant impact not only on France itself but its colonies and former colonies as well, including New Orleans.

Arising from the tumult and chaos of the French Revolution was a young, ambitious general named Napoleon Bonaparte. In order to help finance his wars in Europe Napoleon sold off his country’s largest North American colony in what became known as the Louisiana Purchase. With that 1803 transaction, New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana – plus a vast swath of land between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains – became part of the United States.

bastille-day-faubourg-st-johnBastille Day is commemorated in New Orleans on the closest Saturday preceding the 14th of July. The occasion is celebrated with a block party in the 3100 block of Ponce de Leon Street in the city’s historic Faubourg St. John neighborhood, adjacent to Esplanade Avenue. This quiet, residential section of the city was once the home of many families of French Creole aristocracy. Most of the historic houses they lived in are still visible and in use today.

The Faubourg St. John Bastille Day party on Saturday, July 15, 2017 features live music, food and drinks to toast the memorable occasion. This is a family-oriented event with fun things for the kids to do, including arts and crafts and games. All of the neighborhood’s stores and businesses actively participate.

article courtesy neworleansonline.com

NEIGHBORS TO REMOVE INVASIVE SPECIES FROM BAYOU ST. JOHN ON JUNE 20 and JUNE 24

by Sara Beth Howard

NEIGHBORS TO REMOVE INVASIVE SPECIES FROM BAYOU ST. JOHN ON JUNE 20 and JUNE 24

Kayakityat ( http://kayakitiyat.com/ ) is hosting two events on June 20th and June 24th to remove the invasive water hyacinths from the north end of Bayou St John.

Please join your neighbors for some fun and help make a difference on June 20 and June 24

Tuesday, June 20th 12PM to 2PM
https://www.facebook.com/events/487442778269543

Saturday, June 24th 9AM to 11AM
https://www.facebook.com/events/1790765734586521

For more information, please visit the facebook pages above or contact Sara at
info@kayakitiyat.com , or call 985-778-5034 or 512-964-9499

WATER HYACINTHS ARE SPREADING RAPIDLY IN BAYOU ST. JOHN AND NEED TO BE REMOVED IMMEDIATELY

CLICK ON THE MAP FOR A LARGER VIEW OF THE SPREAD OF WATER HYACINTHS IN BAYOU ST. JOHN

Late last Fall, water hyacinths were introduced into the north end of Bayou St. John.
In just six months, it has multiplied many times. It now lines the west bank of Bayou St John from Robert E Lee Blvd to Filmore Ave.
It moves with the wind, so parts have broken off and made their way to other parts of the bayou, likely even beyond the Filmore Avenue bridge.

According to the University of Florida, one plant can grow to cover an acre in one growing season!

This is a very prolific and dangerous invasive aquatic plant that is now threatening the health of Bayou St John. We must carefully manually remove every piece. If one tiny portion of a plant is left, it’ll will become a whole new reproducing plant. We must dispose of it in a place where it dies completely and cannot re-enter any waterways including storm drains that lead back out to Lake Pontchartrain.

This does not only threaten the recreational use of Bayou St. John but, the ecological health we’ve worked so hard to improve.

Kayakityat is coordinating two removal days within a week to in order to ensure the most thorough removal, ideally eradication. It will be up to all of us individually to remove plants as we see them pop up through-out the future.

DAY 1: 12PM to 2PM Tuesday, June 20th. The Barman’s Fund has graciously offered their services.
It is specially scheduled to accommodate service industry folks. Anyone is welcome to join! This will be the bulk of the removal; we’ll get the big obvious patches.

DAY 2: 9AM to 11AM Saturday, June 24th. This removal will be a bit more meticulous.
We’ll have to spread out and look for hidden patches and individual plants along the banks.

Each event will be followed by a swim in Lake Pontchartrain and a bit of lakefront chillin’!

We need the following supplies; any donations are welcome!

2 Pick-Up Trucks that can handle some weight. We need to transport the plants to a composting sight; it may take multiple trips.

Canoes. If you have one, bring it with you. They can hold more plants than a kayak.

Pitch Forks. 3 to 6 at minimum for removal from banks.
Nets with short handles for removal from boats.

Dump Site. Ideally, all this vegetation should be composted. If anyone knows of a business that will take it, let us know.

Anyone with experience removing water hyacinth or taking on similar projects, please share suggestions and/or equipment.

Those interested can contact Sara at 512-964-9499 or info@kayakitiyat.com)

AUTOMATIC RETRACTABLE SCREEN STORMWATER INLET PROTECTION DEVICES

Thanks to Robert Thompson for sending this in…
Article courtesy Forester Magazines
http://foresternetwork.com/erosion-control-magazine/ec-soil/ec-erosion-control/protecting-storm-drain-inlets/

Everybody loves a party, and nobody loves a good time more than New Orleans, particularly during Mardi Gras when nearly one and a half million visitors flood the city, more than tripling its usual population. But after any good time, there is a lot to clean up from the festivities, and street trash is an overwhelming burden. This year the city had help, thanks to the Wing-Gate automatic retractable screen (ARS) stormwater inlet protection devices from California-based United Storm Water Inc. and United Pumping Services.

Company stormwater sales manager Terry Flury explains how the specialized protection devices help municipalities cope with the everyday headache of trapping trash and protecting stormwater. “Although we originated in southern California, compliance with increasingly stringent policies of municipal separate stormwater sewer systems [MS4s] across the country is helping drive our popularity. Our full-capture devices are all stainless steel and have a five-millimeter perforated screen that prevents items as small as a cigarette butt from entering storm drains.

“We also have stormwater filter DrainPacs that filter out hydrocarbons, and we can customize the filter media to address whatever the customer needs. For example, if you’re concerned about heavy metals, oils, or fertilizer, the filter media could be Perlite, activated carbon, or whatever you might need to address the problem.”

And customizing the product is all in a day’s work, even when it’s a rush to meet the deadline for arguably the country’s biggest, or at least most enthusiastic, outdoor party.

“We recently did a Wing-Gate screen install on Bourbon Street in New Orleans,” explains Flury, “and we had to come up with a special design. Our standard ARS screens are configured completely different and could not accommodate the New Orleans street grate models, which are very unusual and strange looking, made around 1900, and all cast iron with multi-phased support legs.”

Flury says the city wanted something in place by Mardi Gras 2016, so the design team was challenged to come up with a new configuration.

“We did a pilot test of 30 basins and came up with a Wing-Gate design that was completely different. This went through [the city’s] approval process and we had the screens in place well before Mardi Gras.”

City officials were pleased, he says. “We’re now working on a plan to eventually do the whole city.”

The Wing-Gate devices, he explains, are automatic retractable screens that respond to the incoming water, both retaining trash and allowing water to flow. The ARS fits right into the curb openings; in dry months the screen prevents trash from entering the catch basins, and during rain events it opens after water reaches about 40% of curb height. Connector screens then act as a second line of defense for debris, protecting the outlet pipes.

Sometimes meeting client needs has to address more than making a new size or configuration. Flury describes how the bright stainless steel of the ARS was virtually a magnet for scrap collectors in some urban areas. “So for customers who need it, what we’ve done is simply finish the stainless in flat black paint with a powder coating, which replicates plastic and draws far less attention and protects their investment.”

Since the company actually comprises two entities—United Stormwater and United Pumping—Flury says they can manage not only client stormwater needs, but also hazardous waste.

“If we run into a hazardous waste issue, we can act in a remedial capacity. For example, if we run into an oil spill, oil in storm drains, our crews will come and dam up the area and either broom off or vacuum the oil. We really have the best of both worlds when it comes to managing and protecting our water.”

Bayou Cutters Sail Along the Banks of Bayou St. John

This morning, the Orleans Levee Board cut the grass on the banks of Bayou St. John.
As the photo below sent in by Tommy Lewis shows, they did a tremendous job!

Bayou cutters sailed through the grass on the banks of Bayou St. John this morning. Click on Tommy Lewis’ photo for a larger view.

***

Orleans Levee Board Continues to Impress with Work on Bayou St. John

The Orleans Levee Board takes care of the banks of Bayou St. John.
As you can see from Charlie London’s photos below of today’s work on the bayou, they continue to do high quality work for you and me.

***

Bayou St. John is the Reason for New Orleans


by Angela Carll
Times Picayune – November 15, 1985
Bayou St. John is the reason New Orleans is located where it is. The bayou provided a connection from the Mississippi River overland via an old Indian path to Lake Ponchartrain.

A number of historic landmarks still stand in this neighborhood to remind visitors of the city’s heritage.

The Old Spanish Custom House, built in 1784 at the corner of Moss Street and Grand Route Saint John, is the oldest structure in this neighborhood.
Another renowned home is the Pitot House, named for James Pitot, the second mayor of New Orleans. Built in 1799 at 1370 Moss Street, the Pitot House was later moved a short distance up the bayou to 1440 Moss in 1970.

The Tivoli amusement park once stood where the Pitot House is now. It featured a pavillion, orange trees, and dances were held there on Sundays.

Much of Bayou St. John remained swampy and unable to be developed while the city was attempting to drain the area, which was called “back of town” as early as 1835.

In 1866, the city started using the bayou as a drainage receptacle, and a community of houseboats grew up along it. In 1936, the State House of Representatives declared the bayou a non-navigable stream.

Fort St. John, where the bayou and lake meet, was originally built as a fortification by the French and later became the most prominent resort area in New Orleans during the 1930s. The Old Spanish Fort still stands on this site.

The fort is a modern-day battleground. The Orleans Levee Board has proposed replacing the Lakeshore Drive bridge that spans the bayou at its entrance to the lake with a grade-level crossing using culverts for water to flow back and forth from the lake to the bayou.

Members of the Bayou St. John Improvement Association sued the Levee Board to halt construction, arguing that wind moves water currents and that the City Park lagoons which are fed by water from the bayou will stagnate. They also contended that closing the mouth of the bayou will damage an important part of the city’s historical heritage. (The “waterfall dam” near the mouth of Bayou St. John was removed in 2013. Please visit the link for more information: http://fsjna.org/2012/08/update-on-dam-removal/)

Although the bayou today lacks even the rowing clubs, which were popular in the last century, a drive along its curving shore shows typical Louisiana country homes. It still exists to remind us of New Orleans’ earliest beginnings, and why the city was built in a place that seems most improbable to us today.

 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW A PDF OF THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE.

 

Faubourg St. John was a community ten years before the founding of New Orleans in 1718.

Click on the map of Faubourg St. John for a larger view.

For more information, please visit the ABOUT and HISTORY tabs at FSJNA dot ORG

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