Press Releases

The Water Institute pleased to welcome Jean Cowan, Senior Project Manager

Sep 19, 2022

BATON ROUGE, La. (Sept. 19, 2022) – The Water Institute is pleased to welcome Jean Cowan, a researcher and project manager with a long history in coastal work, as a new senior project manager.

Cowan’s career spans more than 35 years and includes 15 years conducting applied research at academic marine science laboratories followed by more than 20 years in government positions conducting ecosystem restoration. Cowan was instrumental in the development of the Louisiana Coastal Area comprehensive planning and in the development of the first Louisiana Coastal Master Plan in 2007.

After years doing applied research at marine science laboratories, she worked at Louisiana Department of Natural Resource as a coastal resources scientist during a pivotal time in Louisiana’s coastal work 2002-2007. In 2007, Cowan moved to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration where she spent nine years as a marine habitat resource specialist working on Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration until May 2016.

As restoration from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continued, Cowan became the associate director of science, planning, and program operations for the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.

Most recently, Cowan was the director of the Ecosystem Restoration Programs for the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council where she led the development of programmatic documents that guide the Council’s restoration decisions, worked to develop consensus among council members and coordinated the development of the Council’s science-based monitoring and adaptive management guidelines.

“I am very proud of the work I’ve done in government service during the past 20 years, and I’m really excited to get back to more research focused work,” Cowan said about her upcoming move to The Water Institute. “Really exploring what those big questions are in the next iteration of what it will take to be more resilient into the future. Every coastal area is facing challenges that Louisiana now faces, so it’s exciting that the work The Water Institute is doing not only builds on decades of work locally, but can help other communities as well.”

Cowan will be joining The Water Institute on Nov. 1, 2022 and will be working on a number of projects, including a suite of projects examining the potential of Blue Carbon for coastal areas.

“Jean’s extensive knowledge of not only Louisiana’s coast, but the shared challenges along the Gulf Coast through her work on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, brings such a great perspective to the work The Water Institute is doing,” said Jason Curole, director of project management at The Water Institute. “Her broad vision will be a tremendous asset to the Institute as we think programmatically about Blue Carbon and other suites of projects.”

Cowan received her bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia and her master’s degree in marine biology from the University of South Alabama.