Urban Waters Partnership

Accomplishments: Lake Pontchartrain Urban Waters Location

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Local Foods Local Places New Orleans

Friends of Lafitte Greenway received technical support from the US Environmental Protection Agency through the Local Foods Local Places Program to develop a community Strategic Action Plan to increase access to healthy local foods in New Orleans’ underserved Lafitte Corridor neighborhoods—neighborhoods that suffer from a high prevalence of poor health outcomes and food insecurity. The Growing the Greenway Committee--composed of community members, stakeholders, and City representatives--is presently implementing the Strategic Action Plan by advocating for and creating community gardens along the Lafitte Greenway. This project seeks to improve health outcomes of local residents, strengthen neighborhood bonds, support environmental stewardship education, and foster economic growth in the neighborhoods surrounding the Lafitte Greenway.

The Green Team Youth Program

The US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service are working closely with Groundwork New Orleans to assist their Youth Program, the Green Team, in focusing on environmental education and workforce development. Green Team members are urban high school students who work in underserved neighborhoods throughout the city. One focus area is the Green Slice, based in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. This project aims to study and protect Bayou Bienvenue, a body of water decimated by pollution and saltwater intrusion, while improving recreational and educational activities in the neighborhood adjacent to the Bayou.

Supported by the Urban Waters program, the Green Team has conducted regular water quality monitoring, assisted with neighborhood surveys and workshops, helped to build a new rain garden and green infrastructure demonstration site, and engaged in community mapping activities to identify hazards and pollution sources. By studying the neighborhood as an urban watershed, students learn how human activities directly impact local waterways, and in turn how urban waterways impact human health and quality of life. They also learn and apply the scientific method, integrate techniques from the environmental and social sciences, gain presentation and organization skills, and have the opportunity to participate in local and national meetings and conferences.


Resilient and Sustainable Stormwater Management and Green Infrastructure Planning

In 2014, the UWFP partnered with EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) on an Urban Soils Assessment across the City of New Orleans as part of ORD's Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research Program. ORD has developed a methodology to assess how urbanization has imprinted on soil development and affected soil hydrologic capacities that provide a minimum dataset for planning and implementing green infrastructure in the urban environment. The results from the New Orleans study are supporting the City's on-going efforts in developing sustainable and resilient water management practices in a unique hydrologic setting facing various environmental challenges including a high rate of coastal land loss, adaptation to cliomate change and sea-level rise, and an aging grey infrastructure system.

Building on the 2014 soil study, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the UWFP successfully partnered with the City on a proposal for funding in fiscal year 2016 through the Flood Plain Management Services program to update an existing Strom Water Management Model (SWMM) with the ORD soil study data and other new information to evaluate scenarios where green infrastructure could be implemented as a nature-based approach in managing flood risks during extreme weather events. This study will build on the previous ORD soil study supporting broader objectives of the City's Resilience Strategy and is scheduled to kick off in October 2015.

Read the Resilience Strategy Exit for more information.


New Canal Lighthouse Museum and Education Center

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF) enlisted the assistance of the UWFP and local citizens to rebuild the New Canal Lighthouse into a museum and education center. The 1890’s-era lighthouse located on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The LPBF dismantled the lighthouse and used the original materials in the recreation of the lighthouse, financed with over $1 million of support from the community. The New Canal Lighthouse Museum and Education Center was opened to the public in April 2013. The facility now educates over 1,000 visitors monthly, ranging from school age children to adult groups and tourists, teaching them about the environmental challenges, successes, and future of Southeast Louisiana.

LaFitte Greenway

The City of New Orleans is constructing the Lafitte Greenway, a 2.6-mile, multi-use trail and linear park that will connect six historic neighborhoods from the French Quarter to Bayou St. John and Mid-City. A broad range of Federal and non-Federal partners have been involved in development of the Greenway and construction is scheduled to be complete in Fall of 2015. The City requested the UWFP assist in identifying a sustainable management strategy. In 2013 the UWFP facilitated a series of public meetings with local stakeholders, which resulted in an agreement in 2015 between the City and the Trust for Public Land to provide further technical support as well as capital fundraising.

Update: The LaFitte Greenway was opened November 6, 2015Exit