Expert Panel on diversion planning and implementation 

About the Panel

The Expert Panel on Diversion Planning and Implementation was established to provide independent advice as plans for implementing sediment diversion projects along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers that support coastal restoration are refined. 

This independent panel is expected to meet approximately three times per year. It will identify critical scientific and technical uncertainties, suggest specific research to reduce uncertainty, and review and comment on technical reports, model outputs, and other aspects of project development. Given the issues surrounding the complexity of the design and operation of a major sediment diversion, the panel's recommendations will be in an adaptive management context. Meetings of the panel will be structured to ensure key input is received from a variety of local experts, stakeholders, and citizens. Panel reports will be presented at meetings of the CPRA Board.

The Water Institute of the Gulf provides staff and logistical support to the panel.

To learn more about the Panel members, please click here.



Panel Reports

The Expert Panel submitted and presented its first report at the February 26, 2014 CPRA Board Meeting.

Report #1

To download and view Report #1, please click here.  To view the summary presentation, please click here.

The Expert Panel submitted and presented its second report at the June 14, 2014 CPRA Board Meeting.

Report #2

To download and view Report #2, please click here. To view the summary presentation, please click here

The Expert Panel submitted and presented its third report at the January 21, 2015 CPRA Board Meeting.

Report #3

To download and view Report #3, please click here. To view the summary presentation, please click here

The Expert Panel submitted and presented its fourth report at the March 25, 2015 CPRA Board Meeting.

Report #4

To download and view Report #4, please click here. To view the summary presentation, please click here.



Upcoming Meetings

Stay tuned for details about the next meeting. 


Past Meetings

Meeting #5 

August 4, 2015, 8:45 a.m.
Woodland Plantation
21997 Highway 23, West Pointe a la Hache, LA

The purpose of the fifth meeting was to provide the panel with an opportunity to assess ongoing efforts in sediment diversion planning in Louisiana and for the public to participate in the process.

To view the agenda, please click here

We would like to thank the speakers who have made the following presentations available.

Dr. John Wells: Charge of the Panel

Ms. Karen Geautreaux: Governor's Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection, Restoration and Conservation, Diversion Subcommittee

Mr. Bren Haase: Diversions Update

Mr. Rick Raynie: SWAMP - Barataria Pilot

Ms. Elizabeth JarrellModeling the Effect of Diversions on Land Building, Vegetation, and Water Quality

Dr. Mead Allison: Data Collection in Support of Basin Wide Model Development for the Delta Management Study

Dr. Melissa Baustian: Basin Wide Delft3D Model Development for Delta Management Study

Dr. Scott Duke-Sylvester: Delta Management Vegetation Models

Dr. Gary Brown: Mississippi River Delta Management Study - AdH/SEDLIB Modeling Components 

Mr. Mitch Andrus: Framework for the Basin Wide Socio-Economic Analysis of Four Proposed Sediment Diversions


Meeting #4

February 12, 2015, 9:00 a.m.
State Capitol Welcome Center
702 River Road, Baton Rouge, LA

The purpose of the fourth meeting of the expert panel was to consider the adequacy of the information used in the current assessment of sediment diversions, to discuss expectations for water quality and vegetation and soils analysis and to provide feedback on the ongoing socio-economic analysis.

To view the meeting agenda, please click here

We would like to thank the speakers who have made the following presentations available.

Dr. John WellsCharge of the Panel

Mr. Bren HaaseDiversions Update

Mr. Kent BollfrasOverview of Planning Process

Mr. David EscudeLower Barataria Engineering/Design

Mr. Richard SpeerLower Breton Engineering/Design

Ms. Cherie Price & Elizabeth JarrellDelta Management Study

Dr. Dubravko JusticEffects of Sediment Diversions on Water Quality in Deltaic Louisiana Estuaries

Dr. Jenneke VisserPredicting Effects of Sediment Diversions using Existing Landscape Analogs in Coastal Louisiana

Dr. Robert TwilleyConcepts of Coastal Deltaic Floodplain as Newly Emergent Ecosystems

Mr. Karim Belhadjali2017 Model Improvement Plan - Integrated Compartment Models (ICMs)

Dr. Stephen BarnesCommercial Fisheries Study

Dr. Stephen BarnesEconomic Evaluation of Coastal Land Loss in Louisiana

Dr. Scott HemmerlingMapping Community Resilience in Coastal Louisiana, 1950-2010

Ms. Melanie SaucierCPRA Basinwide Socio-Economic Analysis


Meeting #3 

October 28, 2014
Crowne Plaza Hotel and Resorts
4728 Constitution Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA

The purpose of the third meeting of the expert panel was to discuss the broader effects of diversions, existing and planned coastal Louisiana monitoring efforts, and the expectations for available information from fish and shellfish modeling.

To view the meeting agenda, please click here

We would like to thank the speakers who have made the following presentations available.

Mr. Kyle Graham: Diversions Update

Dr. Woody Gagliano: Expectations of System Response to Diversions

Dr. Gene TurnerExpectations of System Response to Diversions

Mr. Karim Belhadjali: Broader Effects of Diversions

Mr. Rick Raynie: Monitoring Wetlands and Water in Coastal Louisiana

Dr. Shaye Sable: Adaptation of the CASM to Evaluate Food Web Dynamics and Species Responses on Louisiana's Estuaries

Dr. Kenny Rose: Ecosystem Modeling for Fish and Shellfish: What to Expect?

Dr. Cam AinsworthEcosystem Modeling for Fish and Shellfish: What to Expect? 


Meeting #2 

April 30, 2014
Lindy C. Boggs International Conference Center
2045 Lakeshore Drive, New Orleans, LA 

The purpose of the second meeting of this panel was to provide additional information and details regarding ongoing activities relevant to the initial recommendations provided by the panel in their first report.  This meeting included presentations from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CRPA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and The Water Institute with topics ranging from social impact assessments, wildlife and fisheries response to existing freshwater diversions, and data collection and modeling for the Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study (MRHDMS). This meeting also included an afternoon panel discussion with local scientists, discussing appropriate project-specific analysis for large scale sediment diversions.

To view the meeting agenda, please click here.

We would like to thank the speakers who have made the following presentations available.

Mr. Kyle Graham: Diversions Update

Dr. Barb Kleiss: Introduction to the Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study (MRHDMS)

Dr. Mead Allison: MRHDMS Data Collection

Dr. Charles Little & Dr. David Biedenharn: MRHDMS Geomorphic Assessment

Dr. Ehab Meselhe: MRHDMS Modeling

Mr. David Lindquist: Wildlife and Fisheries Response to Existing Freshwater Diversions

Ms. Micaela Coner & Mr. Bob Beduhn: Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion


Meeting #1 

January 8, 2014
Capitol Park Welcome Center
702 North River Road, Baton Rouge, LA

The purpose of the first 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.  The panel heard from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as representatives of the Environmental Defense Fund, the South Florida Water Management District, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program.  Presentation topics included the background of diversions as a restoration tool, perspectives on diversions, and approaches to considering uncertainties in long-term planning efforts. 

To view the meeting agenda, please click here.

We would like to thank the speakers who have made the following presentations available.

Dr. Chip Groat: Purpose of the Panel

Dr. Denise Reed: Charge of the Panel

Mr. Kyle Graham: Diversions: Our Path Forward

Brig. Gen. Peter A. "Duke" DeLuca: USACE Perspectives of Diversions

Mr. Michael Massimi: Background on Diversions as a Restoration Tool

Dr. Ehab Meselhe: Model Assessment Approach

Dr. Alaa Ali: Approaches in Everglades Planning

Mr. Ronny Paille: Perpectives on Uncertainty in Long-Term Planning

Mr. Mark Wingate: Perspectives on Uncertainty in Long-Term Planning


To submit agenda suggestions for future meetings or provide background materials that you would like the panel to consider, please email us at appliedresearch@thewaterinstitute.org