Atchafalaya Basin Forested Wetlands Under Siege Part 1

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The Atchafalaya Basin in southwest Louisiana guides the Atchafalaya River, a 135-mile long natural distributary of the Mississippi River, that empties into the Gulf of Mexico through the only growing river delta in Louisiana.

The most ecologically important parts of the Atchafalaya Basin are 885,000 acres of forested wetlands and 517,000 acres of marshland, making this the largest river swamp in North America. The Atchafalaya Basin is a refuge for many endangered species and about 100 species of fish, crawfish, shrimp and crabs that feed birds, reptiles and mammals and support sport and commercial fishing. Other animals in the basin include white tail deer, bobcat, coyote, alligator, beaver, nutria, mink, otter, musk rat, armadillo, fox and opossum. The Atchafalaya is considered the most productive swamp in the world, three to five times more productive than the Everglades and the Okefenokee Swamp.

Threats to the Atchafalaya Basin

Perspectives on the 2016 Louisiana Flood

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WHAT's THE BEST WAY TO PREVENT FLOODING?

In the aftermath of the 2016 Flood, the Sierra Club Baton Rouge Group will host three programs on topics related to recovery.

Nov. 17th "Planning During a Time of Climate Change.” Born in Baton Rouge, Camille Manning-Broome, Senior Vice-President at CPEX (Center for Planning Excellence) holds a M.S. degree with an emphasis on Disaster Science, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Sciences at LSU. She has spearheaded and directed cross-agency projects, publishing documents such as the Louisiana Land Use Toolkit, Coastal Best Practices Manual, View from the Coast, and has worked on Comprehensive Plans in more than 30 communities. Prior to working at CPEX, Camille gained both private-sector and government experience working on a host of issues from strategic planning to hazard mitigation.

Stop the New Tax on Solar in Lafayette - Update, News Development

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Update
As of 6:00 pm, Nov 7 ABiz business news has published a story that Terry Huval LUS Director will request that the Council rescind the new fees on solar. This is a victory for clean energy and common sense in Lafayette. You can read the story here:

http://theind.com/article-24195-About-face-LUS-seeks-repeal-of-‘solar-...

Sierra Club Acadian Group plans to go ahead with the public forum at SLCC on Nov 10 at 7 pm. We will update everyone on what has developed by then and talk about Lafayette's electrical future.

Previous post as follows:

Lafayette Utility Service recently increased its rates and included a new solar tax.

The new monthly fixed fee is $27.26 for every residential solar owner which is $20.26 more than the fee paid by non solar LUS residential customers. This will pretty much eliminate the advantage of having solar on a residence and will kill future development of solar in Lafayette City/Parish. The increase is even worse for commercial customers.

We think the council made a big mistake in passing this extreme rate increase for solar customers.

What you can do:

Our Delta Chapter Fall Retreat begins on Friday, October 28, 2016

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COME ENJOY THE GORGEOUS FALL WEATHER & GOOD COMPANY AT THE DELTA CHAPTER FALL RETREAT!
All are welcome to attend the Sierra Club Delta Chapter Fall Retreat which begins on Friday, October 28, 2016! We will be enjoying the beautiful Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville, Louisiana on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain throughout the weekend. Sunsets will happen about 6:30 p.m., so we are welcoming campers to the retreat from 4:00 p.m. Friday onward to allow you time to explore in the early evening.

Our fun weekend is housed at the CCC constructed Fontainebleau Group Camp, which is just over 6 miles from the north end of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway bridge. The Group Camp entrance is about a half mile east of the main park entrance on Hwy 190, the old Covington-Slidell highway.

Election Update, Candidates We Support

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I hope that Sierra Club members, supporters and friends know by now that Sierra Club Delta Chapter in Louisiana has officially endorsed Foster Campbell for US Senate. This official endorsement has the blessing of Sierra Club’s national political campaign and it means that the proposed endorsement has been through a months long process of questionnaires to candidates and evaluation for approval.

We believe Foster Campbell because of his experience as State Representative, State Senator and Public Service Commissioner is absolutely the best qualified candidate. He has stood up for regular people and has fought for clean energy and fair taxation of industry in his time in government. But Foster needs our help. The campaign critically needs people now to be making phone calls or walking the street for him. If you have a few hours you could give for the effort the campaign can set you up in your own home to make calls to a list that shows up on your computer. Or you could go to a campaign office and make calls for him. When Sierra Club gives an endorsement we are also saying that we will actively help. This is to ask you to please contact the Foster Campbell campaign and sign up to help. You can call them at 225-636-2828 or send an email with your name and phone number to foster@fostercampbell2016.com.

A very important race is shaping up for the Louisiana Supreme Court in the district representing Lafayette, Acadia, Vermilion, St. Landry, Avoyelles, Jefferson Davis, Cameron and Calcasieu Parishes. Our choice is Jimmy Genovese. His opponent is Mary Castle who is getting big money and support from big industry including oil and gas, chemicals and the Koch Bros funded AFP. We can expect to see millions of "dark" dollars pumped into this race from little known, out of state entities in the two or so weeks leading up to the race. In recent years we have seen this strategy implemented to great effect by corporate interests, the most prominent example being the millions of dollars injected into a West Virginia supreme court race with the goal of reversing one previous court decision. There is a great deal at stake on this one. We need to do everything we can to support Jimmy Genovese for State Supreme Court. For more info you can go to http://www.judgegenovese.com/ OR his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JudgeGenovese/

Sierra Club Outings Leader Training

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What: Sierra Club Outings Leader Training
When: Sat, Sep 24, 2016 9 am to 6 pm with free lunch
Where: Jones Creek Library in Baton Rouge, LA
Advance sign up is required for free lunch, Training is free of charge
Contact: Margie Vicknair-Pray, Margie.vicknair-pray@sierraclub.org

Sierra Club Delta Chapter is planning an Outings Leader Training on Saturday, September 24, 2016. ANYONE who wants to lead Sierra Club outings of any type can attend the training. This includes anyone doing youth and urban outings as well as hikes, canoe trips, bike trips, etc. Each participant in the training will qualify as a certified Outings Leader for the Sierra Club, meaning that they can lead outings that are covered by SC insurance and that can be advertised with other Chapters. The training will include basic First Aid for outings. Our national Sierra Club trainer is Rocky Milburn from the Florida Chapter.

Bayou Teche Water Sentinals Annual Workshop

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Bayou Teche Water Sentinals enjoyed a skills update workshop and a nice afternoon with crawfish boil by Tom Holland on May 14, 2016 at the home of Trent and Linni Haines. We did review presentations on all of our water quality sampling parameters including Dissolved Oxygen, Temperature, Conductivity, Turbidity, Nitrates and pH. We were also able to re-stock five water sampling teams with new sampling chemical reagents for continued reliability of our data. We have gained two new sampling teams for a total of seven teams that are now conducting water quality testing, four times per year on the upper reach of Bayou Teche.

Bayou Teche Water Sentinals have been sampling quarterly since we started in May of 2010 and have built a solid set of data tracking the basic parameters of water quality in upper Bayou Teche.

Sierra Club Delta Chapter State Legislative Summary Update, Jun 8, 2016

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The 2016 Regular Session of the Louisiana State Legislature adjourned on June 6 at 6 pm and the Special Session convened at 6:30 pm to continue action on state fiscal issues. The end of the regular session concludes action on bills that were part of The Green Army and Sierra Club legislative agenda. Here is a recap of Sierra Club and Green Army priority bills and their legislative outcomes:

HB 11 by Rep Gene Reynolds to ban open burning of waste munitions met with such strong industry opposition that the sponsor turned it into a negotiated study resolution (HCR 118) which requested LDEQ air sampling and a citizen’s dialog committee. Legislative hearings on the bill were successful in putting the principal offender, Clean Harbors Inc, on the hot seat to explain why they conduct open burns when closed vessel incineration would give much better control air emissions. We will have to check on the LDEQ air sampling and watch what happens with the dialog committee.

GreenARMY Legislative Lobby Days, April 20 and May 24, 2016 - Updated

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GreenARMY
STATE LEGISLATIVE LOBBY DAYS
Wednesdays, April 20 and May 24, 2016

The Green Army is a coalition of Environmental and Community Groups in Louisiana fighting for Clean Air and Water. We are holding Citizens Lobby days at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge on April 20 and May 24, 2016. Citizen lobbyists will have the opportunity to meet with legislators to discuss their concerns and legislation.

Wednesday, April 20 we will meet at the capitol starting at 9:00 am. You can find us at one of the tables in the downstairs cafeteria. We will have information about legislation we are supporting. We will go to the House Natural Resources Committee hearing in Committee room 4 for the hearing which will start at 9:30 am. On May 24 we will look in on house and senate floor votes and visit with legislators. To sign up for a meeting with your legislator or for further information you can contact: Margie Vicknair-Pray, Margie.vicknair-pray@sierraclub.org

No New Leasing in the Gulf of Mexico

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The oil and gas industry is a major driver of climate change that now threatens not only our coast, but our way of life. Last December in Paris, world leaders agreed that reining in the use of fossil fuels — including oil and gas — was the only way to save the planet from the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

Yet, in many ways, we in the United States and Louisiana continue with business as usual. A prime example is the proposed lease sale on 45 million acres of mineral rights in the Gulf of Mexico scheduled to take place on March 23 in New Orleans.

Our friends at the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and others are organizing a symbolic protest against this lease, saying that this huge lease flies in the face of the Paris Climate Change agreement that the United States signed in December. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground where they belong and we need to start doing that now. Come and help us make that statement on March 23. The event description is at: http://www.nonewleases.org/

We have buses that will be leaving from Lafayette on the morning of March the 23rd to bring those who want to join in this action. If you would like to sign up for a bus ride go to this link: https://www.universe.com/events/lafayette-bus-to-new-lease-on-life-ticke... OR send an email to Woody Martin at hrmartin2sc@gmail.com with "Bus Ride" in the subject line and let us know where you live.

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