The Water Institute of the Gulf awarded research grant from Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Sep 26, 2016

Baton Rouge, La. — The Water Institute of the Gulf, in partnership with the University of Arizona Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, received a grant to explore and assess socioeconomic trends in coastal Louisiana, officials said Monday.

According to officials, this multidisciplinary team will utilize both qualitative and quantitative research methods to systematically examine the multiple causes of demographic and social changes that have occurred over the last half century, with a focus on the growth and development of the State’s extensive offshore oil and gas industry. The work is funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management as part of a project called "Assessing Temporal and Spatial Variability in Community and Parish Level Responses to Oil Spills and Other Events in Coastal Louisiana."

The purpose of this project is to find the extent to which socioeconomic and demographic changes in Louisiana’s coastal communities are directly linked to particular oil or non-oil related activities or events.

The collaboration between the Institute and BARA will utilize new data synthesis methods to integrate historical and current quantitative data with qualitative data collected through community-level research, which will lead to a better understanding of historical shifts in demographics and social conditions, chronological events that have contributed to these shifts, and the perceptions and understanding among coastal communities of these impacts and how they are related to oil activity and other environmental factors.

“We are excited for the opportunity to apply our expertise in understanding how the oil and gas industry has shaped the economy and communities of coastal Louisiana,” said Scott Hemmerling, Director of People, Resources and Technology for the Institute. “We also look forward to working with BARA, as we believe understanding the human dimension of environmental and economic shifts is paramount and often forgotten in applied research practices.”

These efforts will work to improve the understanding of the oil industry’s effects on communities and deliver insights that may be applicable in areas with a significant oil industry presence.