Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group and Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

Louisiana Adaptive Management Status and Improvement Report: Vision and Recommendations

Limited resources mean that coastal restoration projects need to run as efficiently as possible to maximize project goals including ecosystem health, nature-based protection, community benefit, or more. In order to do that, the state of Louisiana and federal partners, including the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group, has embarked on an ambitious effort to make the concept of “adaptive management” a standard practice defining what actions should be taken at which steps in a project. Adaptive management is a process in which a project, or program, is monitored for outcomes, those outcomes analyzed, and then a decision is made whether adjustments to the project need to be made in order to improve performance of that, or future, projects or programs. Essentially, adaptive management is a way to incorporate new and existing knowledge into management decisions for the future of a project or program of projects.

The Challenge

While the idea of using adaptive management as part of coastal restoration work has been around for years, it is complicated to implement. There are many steps in a restoration project including gathering field data, engineering and design, construction, and operations and maintenance. Each step, and many in between, involve a different set of groups from state and federal agencies to engineering and construction companies. Finding the best way to incorporate all of these groups into an adaptive management framework that is understandable and user-friendly is the challenge. To be broadly used, any new adaptive management processes need to increase overall efficiency rather than increase workload.

The Approach

In developing the vision and recommendations, the Institute gathered experts in adaptive management from the Everglades, Chesapeake Bay, Platte River, and Columbia River to start off with lessons learned from other large ecosystem management programs that have also used adaptive management. In addition, the Institute brought together multiple representatives from the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Department of the Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, United States Department of Agriculture, and Louisiana State University. These groups helped pull together federal and state coastal restoration processes in order to come up eight priority recommended actions to improve adaptive management for coastal restoration work in Louisiana.

The report is available at: