NY Times - It is a wonder that any of it is here at all: The scattered faithful gathering into Beulah Land Baptist Church on a Sunday morning in the Lower Ninth Ward. The men on stoops in Mid-City swapping gossip in the August dusk. The brass band in Tremé, the lawyers in Lakeview, the new homeowners in Pontchartrain Park. On Aug. 29, 2005, it all seemed lost. Four-fifths of the city lay submerged as residents frantically signaled for hlep form their rooftops and thousands were stranded at the Superdome, a congregation of the desperate and poor. From the moment the storm surge of Hurricane Katrina dismantled a fatally defective levee system, New Orleans became a global symbol of American dysfunction and government negligence.
USA Today - The Pentagon's ban on transgender troops would end May 27 under a draft timeline on repeal of the policy that affects about 12,00 troops, according to a document obtained by USA Today. The memo, circulated last week among top personnel and medical officials, lays out the road map for ending the policy and highlights some of the potential issues, including a pilot program that would provide leaves of absences for transgender troops being treated with hormones or having surgery. Meanwhile, Army and Air Force leaders know for sure of about 20 transgender troops in each service, according to a Defense Department official familiar with the issue who spoke on condition of anonymity because official were not authorized to speak publicly.
Baltimore Sun - Maryland's fledgling oyster farming industry is seeing its growth hampered by government red tape and permitting delays, several aquaculture business owners told state and federal officials Tuesday. At a session organized by U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, oyster farmers said that despite some regulatory streamlining several years ago, they still often face waits of six months to as long as eight years in getting needed government approvals to lease water or bottom in Chesapeake Bay tributaries. They appealed to Cardin and state and federal officials for help.
The Toledo Blade - Federal officials' formal announcement that flood control plans for the Findlay area no longer include a levee near the city's reservoir did little Tuesday to mollify farmers southeast of town who properties an Eagle Creek bypass channel would cross. But Lt. Col. Karl Jansen, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's Buffalo District, told several dozen people at a meeting in the Hancock County Commissioner's hearing room that enlarging the Blanchard River through Findlay is not a viable alternative to address the city's chronic flooding. "For environmental reasons alone, we can screen out" the option of dredging and deepening the Blanchard, Colonel Jansen said.
The Lens - Rick Luettich is a world-renowned hurricane storm-surge modeler who sits on the board of the New Orleans flood-protection authority. He said the city's new $14.5-billion levee system designed to repel a 100-year storm is bigger and stronger than the one that collapsed with deadly consequences during Hurricane Katrina. But he's also a parent and put the protection in personal, practical terms. "If my daughter was buying a house in New Orleans with a 30-year mortgage, I'd have to tell her there's a 25-percent chance water will come over the top of that system before she pays off the mortgage. Now, the consequences probably won't be catastrophic like they were during Katrina. But that 1-in-4 chance is there," he said.
CBS SF Bay Area - It's a multi-billion dollar problem, it's sure to happen, it'll affect almost everyone in the Bay Area, and nobody is in charge of planning for it. We're talking about rising Bay levels. The Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), using a midrange approach to various rising sea-level scenarios, figures the Bay will be six inches higher by 2015, a foot higher by 2050, and 3 feet higher by 2100. Those are before you add in the effect of so-called "king tides," El Nino effects, or storm surges. BCDC Executive Director Larry Goldzband says his agency is trying to talk up the issue and convince the dozens of cities, counties, special districts and private entities touching the Bay to work together on solutions.
Governing - In the middle of Lake Hermitage, about 30 miles south of New Orleans, there used to be a marsh about a mile long. There also used to be, amid the grasses, dozens of wells tapping oil and gas deposits below. Dave Marino, a charter captain who grew up nearby, scans the coast from his boat. Down the road, closer to the Gulf of Mexico, he says, "it's all gone." Marino is talking about the marsh. While there are a few wells still standing, the marsh itself has vanished. "When you kill the vegetation," he says, "the rest just melts away." Louisiana's wetlands were once considered more of a nuisance than an environmental blessing. But that was before people understood they served an important purpose: They formed a natural barrier against hurricanes, which lose strength as they travel over land. In other words, the longer the coastline, the greater the protection.