We’ll investigate issues and topics along the Gulf Coast and explore your personal connection to the coastal wetlands that support Louisiana’s working coast. The news from the coast can be daunting, contradictory, and discouraging. We’re losing land at a rapid pace--although not as rapidly as we once were--plants and animals struggle to adapt and survive in ever-changing conditions, people are facing relocation but don’t want to leave the only livelihood they’ve ever known. But it’s not all bad! Louisiana is a leader in coastal resilience planning and mitigation and the work of restoration is becoming more engaged with residents and culturally-focused. So secure your belongings safely and buckle up as we explore the bounty of the wetlands on the Coastal Connection.
Louisiana Black Bears, Oh My!
"Louisiana Black Bears, the official state mammal, was listed as endangered from 1992 until 2016, when it was delisted after a successful conservation program that encouraged wetland habitat development, particularly among private property owners. We'll find out more about the efforts to protect Louisiana Black Bear populations with Maria Davison of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Dr. Joseph Clark with USGS discusses the data and research collected through those efforts, and Paul Davidson talks about the Black Bear Conservation Coalition, a rare non-profit that achieved its goal so well that it is no longer needed.
The Mighty Mississippi
On this episode of Coastal Connection, you'll hear from folks along the Mighty Mississippi from the perspective of infrastructure and navigation, culture and economy. We get a quick backstory from historian John Barry, discuss Mississippi River navigation and flood control with US Army Corps of Engineers' Colonel Stephen Murphy, who leads the New Orleans District, and explore the human relationship with the Big Muddy with photographer Philip Gould and curator Ben Hickey.
Sea Turtles of the Gulf of Mexico
In this episode, we learn about the five species of sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico, find out more about sea turtle research with Dr. Kristen Hart of US Geological Survey, and explore conservation efforts with Joanie Steinhaus of Turtle Island Restoration Network's Gulf Program.
Nutria - Fact, Fur & Fashion
We explore the impact of the invasive nutria in Louisiana's coastal wetlands, dispel myths about their origins and consider the value of its pelt. This episode includes interviews with Jennifer Hogue-Manuel at LDWF and manager of the state Nutria Control Program Shane Bernard, historian and archivist at Avery Island, and founder of Righteous Fur, Cree McCree.
Gulf of Mexico's Biodiversity
"Today's episode features an interview with artist and biologist Brandon Ballengée, who is based in Arnaudville, LA. He talks about his conservation homesteading and his research into 14 species in the Gulf of Mexico identified as missing since the 2010 BP Oil Spill.
We learn more about wild Louisiana irises and efforts to both preserve and reintroduce native Louisiana irises through research, stewardship, and university partnerships.