In late July, the New Orleans City Council held public meetings on proposed amendments to the city’s Master Plan, which guides land-use and infrastructure policy across Orleans parish. A great deal of public input focused on quality of life and housing affordability. While there was hot debate about the right places for live music and taller buildings, there was widespread understanding that effective stormwater management is in everyone’s best interest. Localized flooding is a threat to a variety of neighborhoods. Conversely, well planned waterfronts and parks are valued amenities that provide both water management and recreation.
A map created to inform Master Plan amendments
Last year, members of the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans put together a comprehensive set of amendments to help bring the city’s post-Katrina plan up to date. These amendments reflected the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, Resilient New Orleans strategy and changing attitudes about managing stormwater with green as well as gray infrastructure. The wide ranging nature of the amendments — from communicating about residual flood risk to protecting heritage trees — reflects the diversity of expertise within the Water Collaborative.
At the heart of our proposals were a call for major investments in green infrastructure along streets and neutral grounds and a charge to develop long-range, equitable funding strategies for drainage and green infrastructure. The passage of these amendments with unanimous support from City Council is a major policy victory for three-year-old Water Collaborative. It is, however, merely a first step. The next mayor and council will be charged with implementing the plan alongside agencies, the City Planning Commission and Sewerage and Water Board. We will continue to advocate, educate and partner with the public and private sector to make the city safer and more sustainable.
Designers in New Orleans have learned much from our Dutch friends about safe, sustainable water management. As we move beyond planning to implementation, that co-learning continues but the focus has grown to include civic engagement and citizen involvement. In that spirit, the Water Collaborative partnered with 1% Club to pilot civic crowdfunding in Greater New Orleans.
With lots of help from GNOF and our members, we are poised to unveil a tool to match resources and knowledge with the nonprofits and neighborhoods working to make our region better, safer and stronger. It’s called NOLA Connects. You can learn all about it on Thursday, June 29, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Wayward Owl Brewing Co. RSVP here.
When NOLA Connects launches, donors and volunteers will have the opportunity to support a broad range of projects: tree planting in Algiers, music education in Treme, stormwater retrofits for an Uptown elementary school, and rain barrels in Gentilly — just to name a few. Please join us on Thursday to toast the nonprofit and community leaders behind the projects. Wayward Owl Brewing is located at 3940 Thalia St., in the former Gem Theater. See you there!
A Festival of Environmental Literacy at the New Orleans Public Library
June 3, 2017, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The Water Collaborative is teaming up with the New Orleans Public Library to help kickoff summer reading on June 3, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m, at the Main Branch, 219 Tulane Ave. There will be activities, talks and exhibits for all ages!
Outside, you can help paint a rain barrel or build a miniature rain garden. Inside, there will be educational exhibits, mural making and a kids coloring station.
A series of conversations with water sector professionals begins at 11. It’s a great opportunity for teens and young adults to learn about career opportunities. A noon training with I See Change is also great for young people ready to use technology to help their community.
At 1 p.m. there will be special screening of the film Liminal Bodies Study No. 2 with a live score performed by the Furniture Music Ensemble. Following the performance composer Jeff Pagano will discuss the role of water as inspiration and motif in classical music.
All-day exhibits and activities
• Build a Miniature Rain Garden – Exterior Porch, 1st floor
• Paint a Rain Barrel – Exterior Porch, 1st floor
• Educational Exhibits – Bridgeway, 2nd floor
• “Water Word Cloud” Mural Making – Bridgeway, 2nd floor
• Blue Lexicon Scavenger Hunt – Bridgeway, 2nd floor
• Coloring Station – Children’s Area, 2nd floor
• 11 a.m. – Conversations with Water Researchers and Innovators
• Noon – Hands-on Training with I See Change Community Climate App
• 1 p.m. – Furniture Music Ensemble Live Performance and “Liminal Bodies, Study No. 2” Screening
• 1:15 p.m. – Composer Jeff Pagano Discusses Water as Artistic Medium and Inspiration
See and share this event on Facebook.
The Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans and UNO’s Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences present hands-on educational outings for students and their families on Saturday, May 27, 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. This is a great opportunity for students who have studied water and wetlands in school to build on their studies with an immersive outdoor learning experience. RSVP now.
Veteran educator Dinah Maygarden will lead a canoe outing to explore the dynamics of water movement in Chef Menteur Pass and the estuary’s connection to the Gulf of Mexico. After sampling small aquatic organisms that live in the wetlands and testing water quality, participants will discuss what makes a healthy ecosystem.
There is no cost, but participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the Shea Penland Coastal Education and Research Facility in East New Orleans. Please dress appropriately for outdoor activity, wear sunscreen and insect repellent, and bring water. You may also bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grounds after the outing.
Participating students should be rising 5th graders or older and accompanied by an adult. One adult can bring multiple siblings or friends.
Because space is limited, you must RSVP to secure your spot.
This year, the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans is participating in Give NOLA Day, presented by the Greater New Orleans Foundation. One day a year, Southeast Louisiana takes a moment to thank, celebrate and support the nonprofit organizations that serve our community.
The Water Collaborative is taking part in Give NOLA Day because it’s a convenient, simple way for members and friends to support our work to make Greater New Orleans a global leader in green infrastructure! Donations allow us to provide walk-and-learn tours, educational materials, professional development, and workshops free of charge–building the movement for safe, sustainable water management.
Please include the Water Collaborative in your Give NOLA Day!