Focus Area

Human and Natural Systems Modeling

The complexity of coastal and deltaic systems which intertwine ecology, hydrology, and sediment movement with economic, cultural, and community needs, makes finding the solutions to coastal challenge greater than any one single piece.

Understanding and analyzing these systems in an integrated manner is essential to predicting and anticipating future changes and improving management decisions. Analytical tools and numerical models allow the effects of management actions to be “virtually tested” prior to implementation for a more complete understanding of how human activities influence and interact with natural system dynamics.  The future will not be the same as the past, and incorporating the effects of climate change and extreme weather into models can support researchers and managers alike in assessing future system sustainability and the effectiveness of coastal restoration and protection strategies.

The Water Institute has a track record of integrated analysis of water issues directly related to watershed management from the post-2016 flood work along the Amite River to our supporting science for the 2017 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan. Institute staff works with stakeholders and government agencies at multiple levels to understand needs, collects data, and develop tools tailored to the demands of both society and the environment. This information, including social and economic considerations, feeds into our work in watershed, landscape, and ecosystem modeling which in turn provides the support decision makers need for the planning, design, and operation of potential solutions.

Our skills in this area include field deployment of fixed sensors, surveying, integrated data collection experiments across environments from source to sink, statistical analysis, GIS analysis, real-time forecasting systems, and predictive and hindcasting numerical modeling that includes hydrology, hydraulics, groundwater, water quality and ecology.

Key Projects

“This is your shield…this is your estuary”

Although coastal restoration and protection is sometimes thought to only require technical input, coastal communities ar...

Pacific Ecosystem Based Adaptation to Climate Change Project

Like coastal communities all over the world, countries in the Pacific Islands face shoreline erosion, subsidence, sea le...

Louisiana’s 2017 Coastal Master Plan

The loss of more than 1,800 square miles of coastal land endangers far more than just wetland ecosystems. Louisiana’s co...