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Louisiana Sea Grant Part of $1 Million Planning Grants to Support Nature-Based Solutions

A project to help the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe (PACIT) develop nature-based solutions (NBS) to mitigate climate related hazards is one of ten grants recently funded by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. In total, $1 million in grants were awarded. Matt Bethel, Louisiana Sea Grant’s associate executive director for research, is the principal investigator on the $100,000 PACIT project.

Titled Planning for a Nature-Based Solutions Approach to the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe’s Climate Change Adaptation Efforts, the project objective is to help the Tribe reduce impacts from future tropical storms by using nature-based solutions that also honor the cultural heritage and priorities of the PACIT community in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes. Examples of nature-based solutions include marsh creation, barrier island restoration and living shoreline protection (oyster reefs). Measures implemented by the PACIT could potentially be used in other coastal communities.

“I am most excited about this opportunity to help the Tribe connect with new subject matter experts in developing a strategy for the design and investment in NBS as part of our continued partnership on critical work to help address the community’s climate adaptation and resilience priorities,” said Bethel.

The PACIT’s territory includes diverse resources, including birds, plants, animals, fish, cemeteries, sacred sites and village sites. Historically, Tribe members were fishermen, hunters and farmers.

While Pointe-au-Chien continues to be a fishing community, climate-related hazards threaten its continued existence. Adaptation measures taken by Tribal members have not been sufficient to withstand increased tropical storm impacts due to the loss of much of the PACIT’s traditional lands to open water, exposing the community to greater storm surge and more frequent flooding.

The project began on Oct. 15 and should conclude by May 2023.

The National Academies’ Gulf Research Program is an independent, science-based program founded in 2013 as part of legal settlements with the companies involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. It seeks to enhance offshore energy system safety and protect human health and the environment by catalyzing advances in science, practice and capacity to generate long-term benefits for the Gulf of Mexico region and the nation. The program has $500 million for use over 30 years to fund grants, fellowships and other activities in the areas of research and development, education and training, and monitoring and synthesis.

Bethel can be reached at [email protected].