• Coasts & Deltas

  • Communities

  • Water Resources

Denise Reed

Chief Scientist

Denise Reed, Ph.D., is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in coastal marsh sustainability and the role of human activities in modifying coastal systems. She has studied coastal issues in the United States and around the world for over 30 years.

Dr. Reed has worked closely with Louisiana’s state government in developing coastal restoration plans, including the 2012 Coastal Master Plan and the Louisiana Coastal Area study. Her experience includes field research on the response of coastal wetlands to sea-level rise, ecosystem restoration and planning in the California Bay-Delta, and review and advisory roles of a number of federal water resource planning issues including post-Sandy work in the northeast and restoration planning in Puget Sound. She has served on numerous boards and panels addressing the effects of human alterations on coastal environments and the role of science in guiding restoration, including a number of National Research Council committees.

Since joining the Institute, Reed has led the development of adaptive management plans and guided the CPRA Applied Research Program process. She has convened the Expert Panel on Diversions Planning and Implementation, and currently coordinates between modeling and decision support teams for the 2017 Coastal Master Plan.

Prior to joining The Water Institute of the Gulf, Dr. Reed served as Interim Director of the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences and as a professor in the University of New Orleans’ Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

She has recently been a member of the Chief of Engineers Environmental Advisory Board and the Ecosystems Sciences and Management Working Group of the NOAA Science Advisory Board. She earned a bachelor's and doctoral degree in geography from the University of Cambridge.


  • Integrated Water Resources Management
  • Coastal Policy and Planning
  • Climate Change
  • Science Communication