504-324-9955 info@sustainthenine.org 5227 Chartres Street New Orleans, LA 70117

Natural Environment

The health and well-being of the Lower Ninth Ward – its resilience as a community – is deeply intertwined with the Mississippi River on the south and the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle to the north. This understanding continues to inform Coastal Sustainability and the critical role of wetlands throughout New Orleans, across Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast.

Protecting our coast, protecting our waterways, protecting our livelihoods. Coastal sustainability remains vital to the Lower 9’s ongoing restoration and ultimately its long-term resilience as a community. Past, present and future large-scale modifications to our natural ecosystem have led to massive devastation to our homes, businesses and neighborhoods – first, during Hurricane Betsy (1964) and later Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005). Learning to live with water means understanding the importance of natural storm barriers. Restoring our connections to the bayou and the rest of New Orleans. And renewing our sense of place by rebuilding its infrastructure  to survive and thrive in an urban landscape at or below sea level.

Despite climate change and the threats posed by increasing tropical storms and potential flooding, Lower 9 residents are adapting quickly. Rediscovering access to Bayou Bienvenue has led to a deep new appreciation of these damaged cypress Tupelo wetlands and its historic importance for fishing and other recreational activities. Ongoing efforts at Corps reform have kept neighborhood groups focused on closing MR-GO and lobbying against widening of the Industrial Canal locks.

Through these actions, CSED continues to push for “Bringing Back the Bayou” by improving access, encouraging wetlands research and monitoring its gradual rebirth as a community asset. In addition, we continually advocate for Bayou Bienvenue’s restoration through various state and federal plans for restoration, such as the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Ecosystem Restoration Plan and the Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA). Likewise, we remain vigilant observers of any plans that potentially impact the levees along the Mississippi River and the Industrial Canal, seeking to balance environmentally-sound development with their use as neighborhood green spaces.

Restore with us!