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Plans & Reports

Spanning an array of subjects and formats, The Water Institute of the Gulf’s reports provide an in-depth look at the work we do. Please refer to Our Projects to learn more about individual projects.

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Future Costs of Marsh Creation Projects in Coastal Louisiana

posted on 12.13.2016

Water Institute, Author

This study looks at how costs of marsh creation can change over time and some of the factors that influence those changes. Done for the Coast Builders Coalition and the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, the study looked at seven sites and considered multiple possible scenarios for sea level rise, inflation rates, and two different criteria for fill depth. Using this information, the report examines how cost savings could be achieved and how either borrowing money or investing it could alter the timing of restoration and construction costs.

Synthesis Report Series: Trends in oil and gas infrastructure, ecosystem function, and socioeconomic

posted on 10.20.2016

Scott Hemmerling, Tim Carruthers et al, Author

Understanding historical changes in infrastructure density, ecosystem function, and socioeconomic wellbeing in coastal Louisiana can support better management and decision making. This project synthesized data from multiple sources to assess coastwide and community trends in a wide variety of infrastructure development since the 1950s in coastal Louisiana. The trends were quantified in socioeconomic wellbeing and ecosystem function related to fish and shellfish habitat over the same time period to assess common trends between infrastructure development, ecosystem function, and socioeconomic wellbeing of communities. Both infrastructure density and calculated ecosystem function were found to be positively correlated to aspects of socioeconomic wellbeing at a community scale.

Due to the rich graphics, this report was reduced in size for web use. To access the higher quality version, please email info@thewaterinstitute.org

Diversion Expert Panel Report #7

posted on 10.19.2016

Expert Panel, Author

The Expert Panel on Diversion Planning and Implementation (Panel)  met for a seventh time on August 31, 2016 with a follow-up discussion on September 1, 2016 to receive an update from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) on recent activities and provide a response to the recommendations in the Panel’s sixth report. 

The seventh report offers recommendations of operations and adaptive management, wetland response to flooding, and future science input as the process moves into the engineering and design phase. Expert suggestions for applying the recommendations are also given, with a specific direction for elevating and advancing socio-economic considerations to a level appropriate for a restoration program of this magnitude.

 

Global Risks and Research Priorities for Coastal Subsidence

posted on 12.02.2016

Mead Allison, Brendan Yuill et al, Author

Subsidence plays a significant role in Louisiana’s continued coastal land loss and marsh deterioration, with some areas measuring in at a rate of 10 millimeters per year of sinking. It’s projected that by 2100, Louisiana’s coastal subsidence will increase the vulnerability of hurricane evacuation routes by 200 percent. To better understand this major driving force in land loss, the report brings together updated information about what is known, and unknown, about subsidence’s many causes in Louisiana and around the world. The overall goal of the work is to push for global research and monitoring to help fill in knowledge gaps to better protect natural resources, infrastructure and coastal populations.

“The risk of rapid coastal subsidence to infrastructure and economies, as well as to the natural environment in coastal lowlands, is global and is most acute in large river deltas, which are home to about 500 million people,” according to the report. 

Geomorphic Evolution of the Coupled Raccoon Pass and West Belle Pass Barrier Spit, Louisiana

posted on 12.02.2016

Mark Kulp, Ioannis Georgiou et al, Author

Made of the remnants of former Mississippi River Deltas, barrier islands stretch across Louisiana’s coast. As a first line of defense against storm surges, the restoration of these islands is a large part of the state’s Coastal Master Plan. This report looks at the aftermath of a 2012 West Belle Pass Barrier Headland Restoration Project that introduced 2.8 million cubic yards of sand to the system. Particularly, the report examines where this sand moved and an opportunity to study barrier arc development in the early stage of Louisiana barrier evolution.

SWAMP Version III

posted on 05.09.2016

Ann Hijuelos, Scott Hemmerling, Author

The purpose of this report is to describe the development of a coast wide monitoring plan for Louisiana with specific implementation recommendations for the Barataria Basin and Pontchartrain Region (Breton Sound, Pontchartrain and Mississippi River Delta basins). Version I of the report was produced in February 2015 and included only implementation recommendations for Barataria Basin. A presentation was given to state, federal, and non-governmental representatives in April 2015 to communicate the main findings of the report and to elicit feedback on the monitoring design and implementation strategy. As a result of the workshop and from comments received during the review of the report by CPRA, Version II of the report was produced to include additional data analysis, improved integration with existing monitoring efforts, and a conceptual diagram of the linkages between the human and natural systems. The design developed for Barataria was then expanded to the basins east of the Mississippi River. The implementation recommendations for the Breton Sound, Pontchartrain, and Mississippi River Delta basins are incorporated into this Version III of the report. 

Due to the rich graphics, this report was reduced in size for web use. To access the higher resolution version, please email info@thewaterinstitute.org

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Morphodynamics of the Erosional Phase of Crevasse-Splay Evolution and Implications for Diversions

posted on 12.02.2016

Brendan Yuill, Ashok Khadka et al, Author, Author

Researchers used the West Bay diversion in lower Plaquemines Parish as analogue for state-proposed sediment diversions in Lower Barataria and Lower Breton basins. Although the state has since decided to move forward with sediment diversions in the upper part of the river first, measurements in West Bay outfall area could help validate Delft3D modeling being done to estimate the land-building ability of these sediment diversions. This paper specifically looks at the erosional phase of this delta evolution formed by a crevasse.

Diversion Expert Panel Report #6

posted on 01.12.2016

Expert Panel, Author

The Expert Panel on Diversion Planning and Implementation met for a sixth time on October 27-28, 2016 to provide expert advice to the state on issues pertaining to river diversions. The primary objectives of the meeting were to receive an update from CPRA regarding ongoing activities and responses to previous report recommendations, discuss the outcome and logic related to the Fall 2015 Decision Point, and receive results of modeling stimulations (i.e. land building and landscape change, changes in vegetation and fate of nutrients, changes in fish and shellfish communities and the impacts of basin-wide socio-economics).

The sixth report summarizes the Panel's most important findings to date, and offers four summary recommendations for more effectively advancing the diversion planning process. 

SWAMP Version II

posted on 11.10.2015

Ann Hijuelos, Scott Hemmerling, Author

The purpose of the Coastwide and Barataria Basin Monitoring Plans for Louisiana’s System-Wide Assessment and Monitoring (SWAMP) Version II is to describe the development of a coastwide monitoring plan for Louisiana with specific implementation recommendations for Barataria Basin. This cross-disciplinary research was conducted under the Coastal Ecology and People, Resources, and Technology (formerly the Human Dimensions) programs with additional support from the Physical Processes and Sediment Systems and the Natural Systems Modeling and Monitoring programs. Version I of the report was produced in February 2015 and a presentation was given to state, federal, and non-governmental representatives in April to communicate the main findings of the report and elicit feedback on the monitoring design and implementation strategy. As a result of the workshop and from comments received during the review of the report by CPRA, the report was revised to include additional data analysis, improved integration with existing monitoring efforts, and a conceptual diagram of the linkages between the human and natural systems. The revisions are incorporated into this Version II of the report. 

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Diversion Expert Panel Report #5

posted on 09.16.2015

Expert Panel, Author

The Expert Panel on Diversion Planning and Implementation met for a fifth time on August 4 to provide expert advice to the state on issues pertaining to river diversions. The meeting was focused primarily on upcoming decisions CPRA will make regarding next steps for sediment diversion projects. The fourth report summarizes the Panel’s most important findings to date, and offers three summary recommendations for more effectively advancing the diversion planning process.