HELPING COMMUNITIES THOUGHTFULLY PREPARE FOR AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE

The Water Institute of the Gulf is an independent, non-profit, applied research institution advancing science and developing integrated methods to solve complex environmental and societal challenges. We believe in and strive for more resilient and equitable communities, sustainable environments, and thriving economies.

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INTEGRATED SCIENCE FOR DECISION SUPPORT

Coastal regions are confronting complex, diverse, and interconnected challenges, including the impacts of sea-level rise, land loss, subsidence, environmental degradation, and increases in storm frequency and intensity. Communities, businesses, ecosystems, and essential infrastructure in these regions are facing substantial and growing hazards and risks. The Water Institute works to provide the best available science and decision making support to enable stakeholders to analyze, manage, and reduce risks.

How We Work

The Water Institute Methodology

The Water Institute methodology employs applied science to assist communities to make informed decisions and plan for an uncertain future. Our goal is to fully inform and advise decisionmakers in evaluating alternatives grounded in science, research, and community priorities.
Explore the methodology wheel to learn more.

Decision

The decision point is outside of our domain—our goal is to fully inform decision makers but not advocate for any one alternative.

Discovery & Engagement

The Water Institute begins by meaningful and deliberate community engagement, identifying problems and objectives, and conducting background and policy research.

Metrics & Evaluation

The Water Institute designates physical, natural, and social metrics to measure success toward the community’s goals.

Tool Development

The Water Institute collects data and creates tools such as predictive numerical modeling and scripts for data analysis to advance knowledge of the problem at hand.

Alternatives Analysis

Leveraging its transdisciplinary approach, the Water Institute utilizes integrated modeling to identify alternative solutions to challenges.

Prioritization

To further support the decision process, the Institute prioritizes all identified solutions, outlining the tradeoffs and consequences of each.

Planning & Policy Development

The Water Institute supports the decision process by further prioritizing projects and conducting research to inform policy development following decisions.

Adaptive Management

The Water Institute supports decision makers as they assess and adapt their plans over time to reduce uncertainty.

Scientific Rigor

Scientific rigor and advancement, stakeholder engagement, and quality assurance/quality control are central to each step of the Water Institute's methodology.

Translation

The Water Institute communicates complex scientific topics to stakeholders through plans, tools, maps, and other visualizations of data.

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Coastal Innovation and Collaboration Hub

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards named the Water Institute as the state’s Coastal Innovation and Collaboration Hub.

In this role, the Water Institute acts as a focal point to bring together scientists, government agencies, nonprofits, and communities to address the major challenges facing Louisiana’s coast.

Recent Project
Policy Research and Future Directions of Applying Engineering With Nature® in USACE Programs

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineering With Nature® Initiative works toward better integration and alignment of traditional “grey” infrastructure approaches with nature-based infrastructure approaches. Currently, the benefit-cost analysis (...

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Latest News
Living the Dream: I Predict & Prevent Natural Disasters: Colleen McHugh, Senior Adaptation Planner

The best part of my job is working closely with public sector partners and community stakeholders who are doing the direct work of policymaking and project implementation. It’s really rewarding to see and be a part of how our science can be applied to real decisions and...

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Recent Report
Application Plan: Structured Decision Making to Co-Produce an Actionable Science Plan in Support of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama Coastal System Water Quality Management Research

This Application Plan outlines the engagement of the RM working group to guide the development and application of a decision-support and model framework for the region, as well as to identify specific management-relevant model scenarios to evaluate t...

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