Focus Area

Integrated Watershed Management

Water quantity, whether too much (flooding) or too little (drought), as well as water quality issues (like nutrients, harmful organisms, or contaminants) impact communities, businesses, and homes.

In order to prepare for these extremes, as well as ongoing water pressures communities face such as increased development, decision makers need applicable science and practical guidance to better evaluate the best course of action.

The Institute’s integrated approach to analyzing water movement, availability, water demand, and an ecosystem’s minimum water needs helps ensure a balanced consideration of both economic and social welfare without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems. A watershed-based approach is crucial in making sure a more complete picture emerges about how land, water, rivers, and the coastal environment interact and what impact those interactions could have on potential solutions to watershed management needs.

The Water Institute has a track record of integrated analysis of water issues directly related to watershed management from the post-2016 flood work along the Amite River to our supporting science for the 2017 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan. Institute staff works with stakeholders and government agencies at multiple levels to understand needs, collects data, and develop tools tailored to the demands of both society and the environment. This information, including social and economic considerations, feeds into our work in watershed, landscape, and ecosystem modeling which in turn provides the support decision makers need for the planning, design, and operation of potential solutions.

Our skills in this area include field deployment of fixed sensors, surveying, integrated data collection experiments across environments from source to sink, statistical analysis, GIS analysis, real-time forecasting systems, and predictive and hindcasting numerical modeling that includes hydrology, hydraulics, groundwater, water quality and ecology.

Key Projects

Finding the right flow

Estuaries, wetlands, and swamps depend upon the constant inflow of fresh water to sustain the ecosystem’s balance of pla...

Tracing Amite River sediment in the wake of the August 2016 flood

A heavy rain turned into a deluge in August 2016, ultimately resulting in more than 19 inches of precipitation falling i...

Development and application of a hydrological model in the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

In 2011, an extended drought in southeastern Texas led to elevated salinity levels in a number of locations throughout t...