Resilient Communities Projects

Resilient Communities Projects

Louisiana Sea Grant announced it is funding five new projects concentrating on the program’s Resilient Communities focus area. One is a research project and the others are scientific synthesis efforts – where existing data is used to develop new models to explain or test a problem. Below is a synopsis of the two-year projects, along with a list of the investigators and their affiliations.

Research Project:

Preparing Local Governments to Be Financially Resilient to Natural Disasters

Matt Fannin, LSU AgCenter, principal investigator
Ashok Mishra, LSU AgCenter, associate investigator
Carol Franze, Louisiana Sea Grant/LSU AgCenter, associate investigator

When tropical storms and other coastal disasters strike, debris cleanup and payment for the cleanup takes a backseat to making sure citizens have food, water and shelter. Because of this, debris removal and cleanup decisions are often made without fully understanding the financial costs and consequences – resulting in wasted time and money. This project, which builds on a previous Sea Grant-funded project, will develop a debris financing and cleanup procurement decision-making tool to be used by local governments in their disaster management planning.

Funded Graduate Student: Alejandra Brevé Ferrari 

Synthesis Projects:

A Framework to Connect Climate Adaptation Alternatives to Coastal Louisiana Communities

Jeff Carney, LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio (CSS), principal investigator
Emily Powell, LSU CSS, co-principal investigator
Patrick Michaels, LSU CSS, associate investigator
Jacob Mitchell, LSU CSS, associate investigator 

The compound effects of land loss, sea level rise and climate change continue to pose a serious threat to communities across coastal Louisiana. Levees and other structural measures are one method of addressing flooding and storm surge. This project, however, will focus on alternative non-structural methods that are equally as useful and beneficial for coping with flooding risks. The investigators will demonstrate a range of techniques and options communities can adopt, and they will develop a tool to help communities easily assess their risks and identify potential non-structural solutions.

Building Community Resilience to a Changing Louisiana Coastline through Restoration of Key Ecosystem Components

Tim Carruthers, The Water Institute of the Gulf (TWIG), principal investigator
Scott Hemmerling, TWIG, co-principal investigator

Human populations in coastal areas are vulnerable to storm surge, sea level rise and climate change, yet Louisiana coastal communities have persisted. Among the state’s broader stakeholder communities there  is a lack of information on the potential benefits of ecosystem-based restoration options at a parish, basin or coast-wide scale that could enhance local community resilience. The objective of this project is to develop a suite of resources to inform a broader range of community stakeholders, scientists, coastal managers and decision makers to fill that knowledge gap.

Comprehensive and Integrated Louisiana Water Code Project

Mark Davis, Tulane University, principal investigator
Jim Wilkins, Louisiana Sea Grant, co-principal investigator
Christopher Dalborn, Tulane University, associate investigator

Rising seas, collapsing coasts and ever-evolving demands on water resources for energy development, coastal restoration and healthy coastal ecosystems, as well as increasing human consumption and a myriad of other uses, are forcing the state to reassess its relationship with water. Though relatively water rich, Louisiana shares its water resources and stewardship challenges with other states and the nation. The objective of this project is to develop a model water legal code for the State of Louisiana that is grounded in both traditional water rights and responsibilities – public and private – and that is responsive to evolving dynamics of water supplies and use.

A Synthesis of Resilience Measurement Methods of Indices

Nina Lam, LSU, principal investigator
Yi Qiang, LSU, associate investigator

Coastal zones throughout the globe are facing a critical challenge: How to develop and promote resilience for coastal communities in light of the various coastal threats? Community resilience analysis is a transparent way to represent the complex human/environment interaction. This project will focus on: 1) What are the definitions and semantics of resilience across disciplines and hazards? 2) What are the state-of-the-art community resilience measurement methods regarding natural hazards? 3) Which indicators have been used? 4) What are the most representative indicators? From this effort, a Web-based application will be developed for researchers and general users to choose a definition, indicator and method to calculate resilience of coastal Louisiana communities.

The resilience proposal solicitation process began in June, with a submission deadline of Aug. 6. An external review panel reviewed all proposals submitted by the deadline and advised Louisiana Sea Grant on which proposals to consider for funding. Proposals were reviewed for the following attributes: scientific merit, utility and anticipated benefits; relevance to Louisiana Sea Grant’s program priorities; extension and outreach plans; investigator qualifications; and budget requirements.