Press Releases

Jessica Henkel, deputy director to the chief scientist, to lead RESTORE Act Center of Excellence for Louisiana

Oct 25, 2022

BATON ROUGE, La. (Oct. 25, 2022) – The Water Institute’s Deputy Director to the Chief Scientist Jessica Henkel, Ph.D., has been selected to serve as the new director of the RESTORE Act Center of Excellence for Louisiana (LA-COE).

Since joining The Water Institute earlier this year, Henkel has been instrumental in program management and research and now will take on the role of director of the LA-COE which provides research directly relevant to implementation of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan.

“It is a great honor to be selected to lead this fantastic program that has put millions into the hands of researchers around the state,” Henkel said. “I look forward to continuing The Water Institute’s and former director Dr. Melissa Baustian’s work in building the research portfolio of LA-COE and working with university, nonprofit and private sector researchers as we collectively strive to answer questions about our coast.”

The Water Institute was selected as the Center of Excellence under the Restore Act in 2014 and since then has administered two rounds of grants to support research in Louisiana tied to supporting the state’s coastal restoration and protection program.

The Coastal Master Plan is a guiding document for Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), developed using the best available science and engineering, that focuses efforts and guides the actions needed to sustain Louisiana’s coastal ecosystem, safeguard coastal populations, and protect vital economic and cultural resources.

LA-COE is sponsored by CPRA and administered by The Water Institute of the Gulf, an independent, non-profit, applied research institution that works across disciplines to advance science and develop integrated methods used to solve complex environmental and societal challenges.