Travis Lux

Travis Lux primarily contributes science and health stories to Louisiana's Lab. He studied anthropology and sociology at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, and picked up his first microphone at the Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole, MA. In his spare time he loves to cook -- especially soups and casseroles. 

A strong majority of Louisiana voters believe in climate change, according to a new poll sponsored by several environmental groups.

About 1,000 “chronic voters” in Louisiana were surveyed by phone for the poll, which was conducted by political consulting firm BDPC LLC + Pinsonat for the Restore the Mississippi River Delta coalition.

One of the ways the state plans to rebuild land on the Louisiana coast is by sediment diversions -- diverting the silt, sand, and dirty waters of the Mississippi River into the marsh.

For years, many in the commercial fishing industry have claimed that the influx of freshwater funneled through diversions would ruin their industry. Now, some fishers feel they have proof: the damaging impacts of the 2019 Mississippi River Flood.

This year’s dead zone is the eighth largest on record in the Gulf of Mexico, though it’s size could have been impacted by Hurricane Barry last month.

The dead zone is an area of hypoxic, or low-oxygen, conditions that forms at the bottom of the Gulf every year. Fertilizers, which wash off of Midwestern agricultural fields and down the Mississippi River, fuel algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico. As the algae dies the water loses oxygen, killing fish and other sea creatures.

Two disaster-related bills proposed this week in Congress could offer relief for Louisiana communities affected by extreme weather. One would create a permanent safety net program for commercial fishers who have suffered losses due to environmental damage. Another would create a special fund meant to help cities and towns build more resiliently.

Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act of 2019

Environmental disasters can cause commercial fishers to lose money. This year, for example, Mississippi River flooding has dramatically reduced the catch of several kinds of seafood in both Mississippi and Louisiana.

The flooding Mississippi River is taking a major toll on Louisiana’s commercial fisheries.

Many of the state’s fisheries, like shrimp and oysters, need a mix of salty and fresh water to grow properly. But because of the months-long flooding on the Mississippi River and the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway -- through which water has been flowing for more than 70 days this year -- many of those areas are now too fresh.

Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan is the state’s guide for restoring its disappearing coastline and defending cities from rising seas. It includes things like levees and rebuilding marshes. But how does the state decide where to build projects? How does it decide what kind of project to build? And how is climate change considered?

All month long, WWNO is teaming up with Louisiana Public Broadcasting to bring you a special series called Sinking Louisiana. This week, WWNO’s Travis Lux talks talks with Bren Haase, Executive Director of the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), about how the state makes big decisions that impact lots of people. They spoke at the CPRA headquarters in Baton Rouge.

We hear a lot about how the Louisiana coast is disappearing. The state has lost about 2,000 square miles of coastal marsh since the 1930s. One of the biggest reasons: subsidence. What is subsidence?

The chemicals used to clean up the BP oil spill may not have been as bad as previous studies suggest -- that’s one of a few themes from the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science (GOMOSES) Conference this week.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, WWNO’s Travis Lux talks with Nola.com | The Times-Picayune environment reporter Tristan Baurick about the latest in oil spill science.

Plus, Tristan tells us about his search for the elusive black rail -- a threatened bird that’s found a home in the precarious marshes of coastal Louisiana.

Louisiana’s soil is sinking much faster than previously thought -- that’s the conclusion of a new report out this week from Tulane University.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, WWNO’s Travis Lux speaks with Tulane wetlands geologist Molly Keogh, who authored the report, about what that means for sea level rise predictions in Louisiana.

A massive reservoir of industrial wastewater is threatening to burst near the Mississippi River, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. It’s an acidic byproduct of industrial fertilizer company Mosaic Fertilizer. The company’s wastewater disposal practices have been under scrutiny for many years.

Staff writer Tom Wright from The Lens has been reporting on the issue, and talks to Travis Lux about what’s playing out upriver, and how it could impact people and the environment.

Pages