Press Releases

The Water Institute to facilitate a new process that aims to improve Mississippi Sound estuary water quality

Oct 11, 2021

BATON ROUGE, La. (Oct. 11, 2021) – The Water Institute of the Gulf will be facilitating a new effort focused on the Mississippi Sound estuary to bring together coastal managers and researchers to co-design modeling tools to support future resource management decisions.

The project is supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which awarded $126,646 to a team of managers and scientists who will be collaborating on a research plan to develop a science-based tool for reducing critical uncertainties to support management of the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama Coastal System (LMACS), with particular attention to water quality and oyster habitat.

“The Water Institute is proud to be a part of this important project to support decision making by bringing together the people who manage these resources and the scientists who study them for a better outcome for the estuary,” said Soupy Dalyander, physical oceanographer and structured decision-making facilitator at the Water Institute.

Mississippi’s historically productive oyster fishery has been declining since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and has remained closed the past two years. Resource managers have faced challenges in deciding upon management actions to improve water quality in this region because of uncertainty surrounding factors including the impacts of chronic coastal erosion and acute freshwater inputs from Bonnet Carré Spillway releases.

Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) Director of Ecological Restoration George Ramseur serves as lead investigator for the team. Natural resource managers engaged on the project include Jim Pahl of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Will Underwood of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Justin McDonald of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jon Hemming of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Cody Haynes of the National Park Service Gulf Islands National Seashore. The project team also includes Anna Linhoss of Auburn University, Soupy Dalyander and Mike Miner of the Water Institute of the Gulf, and Paul F. Mickle of Northern Gulf Institute.

The project, which began this month, will end in August 2022. In addition to the research plan, an application plan will be developed to transition the team’s research into implementation by the MDMR and its partners. Additional information may be found here.