Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gulf Tides 15: The Dead Zone

We recently wrapped up another episode of "Gulf Tides", a web video series for the Gulf Restoration Network.

I've been reporting on, writing about, and filming the Gulf Coast environment for what seems like quite some time now. The stories I tell all seem to lead back to the same idea: that the Gulf Coast region and the Mississippi River Delta are economically important environments that need to be taken seriously and protected from degradation.

The Gulf Restoration Network is a homegrown New Orleans non-profit that focuses on the health of the Gulf of Mexico and the wetlands it borders. I'm very proud to work with the people they have on staff to make sure the public is aware of the dangers that face our region if we do not take action.

This episode features the Dead Zone and its impacts up and down the Mississippi River. I learned a lot about what goes on up river to cause the Dead Zone in the Gulf. This episode was also a great opportunity to polish up my archival footage researching skills as we were not able to just go out and get most of the footage we needed.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Revivng the Louisiana Oyster Industry

As we near the 2 year mark of the BP Oil Spill, I'm starting a new round of stories about the Gulf Coast for the National Wildlife Federation. We've titled the series "Stories from the Coast".

This latest video is a look into the current state of the oyster industry in Louisiana. As it stands now, the industry as a whole is not operating at pre-spill levels and I wanted to dig in and see what might be the causes. I found that there are a number of factors including hurricanes, some effects of the oil, but mostly the effect of freshwater from the Mississippi River.

The freshwater reached the marshes in heavy doses during the oil spill because river diversion were used in an effort to create a water flow that might push back encroaching oil. There was also a high river in the Spring of 2011 that forced officials to open the Bonnet Carre spillway to prevent flooding in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. These influxes of freshwater upset the delicate balance of salinity required to maintain a healthy oyster population.

As I went through the filming process of this story I was treated to a sack of oyster from P&J Oyster Co. I shucked the oysters and used them in my Mom's oyster stuffing recipe. Sometimes this job has some major perks.

What I took away most from this story is the idea of farming oysters that is featured near the end of the video. This concept seemed like a very legitimate way of raising and harvesting oysters. It may be some time before the fishermen start using this method, but as we continue to re-engineer our coast for the good of everyone, it's going to take innovative approaches to helping our fisherman continue to work for themselves and I think that this method will play a major role in helping the oyster fishermen.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Brown Pelican

During the hot months of the BP oil spill, oiled brown pelicans became iconic images of the disaster. Throughout the spill, I personally saw many more pelicans that weren't affected than I did those that were. Still, the toughest emotional day for me was when I filmed at the pelican rehabilitation center at Fort Jackson in Plaquemines Parish and saw what the birds had endured.

My current video for the National Wildlife Federation is an update of sorts on the status of the brown pelican. Although biologists agree that the population is still strong, the video proposes that the rapid loss of habitat will determine the ultimate fate of the species.

This video is composed of footage that I collected before and after the spill as well as stock footage from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Often times state and federal agencies will have their own media produced in house. Since the media is produced using tax dollars, it falls in the realm of public domain. You can get a hold of this media by visiting the agency's B Roll or Video section on their website or by contacting their media/public relations departments and requesting copies of the footage.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mistrust & Missed Opportunities

This is the latest episode of Gulf Tides, a web series I am producing about the oil spill for Gulf Restoration Network. The series is a challenge and I try to make each episode like a segment of PBS' Frontline. Covering a subject as huge as the oil spill can be quite daunting, but in this case I've learned to trust the expertise of my client in keeping the stories focused on a particular aspect of the disaster.

I was lucky enough to record the narration from the actor Tim Robbins. Just knowing that there is a big name attached to the series makes me work hard to produce a quality product.

I'm not sure what the future holds for my coverage of the BP oil spill but work like Gulf Tides has been a pleasure to produce. My only hope is that it in some way makes a difference.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Migration to the Marsh

I produced this video for the National Wildlife Federation. It was a great opportunity to express some of the long term concerns that I have as a duck hunter. Although the BP Oil Spill was a stress on our local environment in South Louisiana, we have been in trouble for a long time. Through two great sources, Bob Marshall with the Times Picayune and Dale Humberg, chief biologist with Ducks Unlimited, I was able to tell that part of our story.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fishing without Fossil Fuels

This is the latest video for "Stories from the Coast", and ongoing series I am producing for the National Wildlife Federation. In the video I featured my good friend Blake Gill. Blake works for Massey's Outfitters in New Orleans, and he and I have been taking on the sport of kayak fishing for quite some time now.

It was a unique experience shooting video from a kayak (especially when I set up a tripod) but I think my previous experience with the boats went a long way. If someone is going to be filming from a kayak for their first time, I would recommend spending some time getting to know the boat before you let the camera roll.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oiled Water, Oiled Waste

This episode of Gulf Tides tackles the recent openings of commercial fishing in the BP disaster zone as well as the disposal of waste from the cleanup efforts. I am very happy to be producing this series of mini-documentaries for the Gulf Restoration Network. My good friend Gino with NOLA Image Works and I put a lot of time into making sure these videos are fun to watch. We hope that we can keep the public interest going in the aftermath of the BP Oil Spill.