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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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Diversion Expert Panel Report #2

posted on 06.18.2014

Expert Panel, Author

The Expert Panel on Diversion Planning and Implementation met for a second time from April 29 to May 1, 2014 to provide expert advice to the state on issues pertaining to river diversions. The recommendations included in this report provide additional details and specifics regarding the Panel’s initial set of recommendations, which can be found in the Diversion Expert Panel Report #1.

Expert Panel on Greater New Orleans Hurricane & Storm Damage Risk Reduction System Design Guidelines

posted on 05.20.2014

Ryan Clark, Author

An independent technical peer review was conducted of the design guidelines used to develop the New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS). In 2007, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) developed HSDRRS Design Guidelines (HSDRRS-DG) to ensure that consistent state-of-practice techniques were used in engineering, designing, and constructing the components of the system. As the HSDRRS design and construction process moved forward, USACE granted several waivers to address construction schedules, resources, and costs constraints. The peer review panel consisted of six technical experts familiar with the HSDRRS and the state-of-practice for the design of coastal and riverine flood-protection systems. This panel was tasked with the following objectives: assess the assumptions and analysis approaches in the 2007 HSDRRS-DG, and whether it is consistent and appropriate within the current state-of-practice of engineering; and assess the justification for exceptions and waivers, and whether it could result in an impact on component and system performance, operations and maintenance, risk, or reliability.  This report presents the results from the panel’s effort.

Social Impact Assessment Methodology for Diversions and other Louisiana Coastal Master Plan Projects

posted on 04.22.2014

Craig Colten, Scott Hemmerling, Author

The Water Institute of the Gulf convened an expert panel to help develop a methodology for conducting social impact assessments for sediment diversions and other coastal restoration projects proposed in the 2012 Coastal Master Plan.  This report synthesizes the priorities identified by the expert panel, providing a methodology for conducting social impact assessments for the sediment diversions and other coastal restoration projects, and includes a draft budget and time. 

Researching Uncertainties Related to Sediment Diversions: Fresh Water, Nutrient and Sediment Effects

posted on 04.11.2014

Water Institute, Author

This project, funded by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), focused on the development of a work plan to address critical technical uncertainties of Mississippi River sediment diversions related to fresh water, nutrient and sediment effects on coastal receiving basins.   Senior researchers were solicited in four fields of interest that related to environmental conditions of the receiving basins: (1) estuarine water quality, (2) wetland vegetation, (3) wetland soils and strength, and (4) estuarine hydrodynamics and sediment transport.  Using external expert guidance and input from CPRA, a comprehensive list of critical uncertainties was developed and prioritized based on resource management and scientific merit.  General research activities were identified to address each uncertainty, high priority items were developed more extensively with a focus on a potential field site of the Fort Saint Phillip crevasse splay. 

Diversion Expert Panel Report #1

posted on 02.25.2014

Expert Panel, Author

The Expert Panel was organized and established by The Water Institute of the Gulf to provide independent advice as plans are refined for implementing freshwater and sediment diversion projects along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers to support coastal restoration.  The panel held their first meeting in January 2014 in Baton Rouge.  The purpose of the initial meeting was to provide an overview of ongoing activities, familiarize the panel members with the landscape and associated challenges and opportunities, and consider how scientific and technical uncertainties should be considered.  Panel recommendations outlined in the first report include methods by which biophysical and social data should be collected, disseminated, and incorporated; models that should be developed; coordinated and communication that should be undertaken; and types of additional simulations and experiments that should be conducted. 

National Flood Insurance Program: Impact of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012

posted on 01.13.2014

Water Institute, Author

Concern over the changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) imposed by the Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) that likely will impose major increases in insurance premiums has inspired a nationwide effort to assess the impacts in both riparian and coastal flood-prone areas. Although BW-12 has begun to go into effect, there are many uncertainties about how the changes will impact flood insurance policyholders.  Many public officials and citizens are concerned about: how big the premium increase will be, who will be impacted as policy changes unfold, and what areas will be reclassified by revised floodplain designations.  Given the uncertainty facing flood insurance policy holders and both state and local floodplain managers, The Water institute of the Gulf was asked to investigate the implications of the insurance rate changes to coastal and riverside communities.  This report summarizes our research methodology and findings. 

Creating a System-Wide Assessment and Monitoring Program for Coastal Louisiana (SWAMP)

posted on 11.05.2013

Water Institute, Author

A System-Wide Assessment and Monitoring Program (SWAMP) is being developed to ensure a comprehensive network of coastal data collection activities to support the development, implementation and management of the coastal protection and restoration program in Louisiana. This reports provides a framework for data collection focused on the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s portfolio of interests. Once implemented, SWAMP will support CPRA’s mission by providing support for evaluating project and program performance, data for detecting system change, and information for damage assessments, flood risk management, and modeling.

2017 Coastal Master Plan: Strategy for Selecting Fish Modeling Approaches

posted on 10.31.2013

Shaye Sable, Author

Coastal restoration involves the alteration of environmental conditions that result in direct and indirect responses of individual fish and shellfish. These environmental effects from restoration include changes in hydrology, water quality, and physical habitat. Louisiana’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan relied on quantifying changes in habitat for life stages of selected species. The goal is for the fish models eventually used in the 2017 Coastal Master Plan to provide a quantitative analysis of how the effects on hydrology, water quality, and physical habitat on individuals (both direct and indirect effects) translate into local and regional population and food web responses. This report is a scoping document on the strategy for selecting and applying fish models for the 2017 Coastal Master Plan. The development of the strategy is an important part of the process towards developing a systematic, transparent, and logical scheme for including fish models in the 2017 Coastal Master Plan.

Adaptive Management Framework for Coastal Louisiana

posted on 01.09.2014

Water Institute, Author

The Water Institute of the Gulf, with guidance and input from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and from an Adaptive Management Guidance Panel, was tasked to develop a programmatic Adaptive Management Framework (AMF) for Louisiana’s coastal protection and restoration program.  The purpose of the framework is to identify the principles of adaptive management and provide recommendations for integrating adaptive management concepts and ideas into the current coastal program.  This framework also serves as the foundation for developing an Adaptive Management Plan (AMP) that will create formalized structure for implementing adaptive management.

Methodology for Producing a Coastal Louisiana Report Card

posted on 10.18.2013

Water Institute, Author

The Water Institute of the Gulf, with guidance and input from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, was tasked to develop methodology for producing a report card for coastal Louisiana. The intent of this report card is to provide a holistic assessment of the environmental, social, and economic condition of coastal LA that informs the general public, managers, and public officials on the state of the coast. The need for a report card stems from the extensive changes occurring along the coast—both natural and human-induced—that may impact the resiliency and sustainably of the coastal environment and local communities. Severe land loss and habitat degradation threaten recreationally and commercially important wildlife and fish populations, while increasing flood risks continue to jeopardize critical infrastructure. It is envisioned that a coastal report card would encourage community leaders and policy makers to take action for change in their own communities and work collectively in restoring and protecting the coast.