Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

RESTORE Act Center of Excellence for Louisiana


The Challenge

In the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Congress passed the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act).

Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) announced in April 2014 the selection for The Water Institute of the Gulf as the State of Louisiana’s RESTORE Act Center of Excellence.

Funding for the program originates from the RESTORE Act signed by President Barack Obama in July 2012. The Act established the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund in the U.S. Department of Treasury and directed 80% of the civil penalties paid after July 6, 2012, under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, to be deposited into the Trust Fund and invested. As part of this Act, 2.5% of funds will be dedicated to the establishment of Centers of Excellence in each of the five Gulf Coast states.

The mission of the Center of Excellence for Louisiana (LA-COE) is to support research directly relevant to implementation of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan by administering a competitive grants program and providing the appropriate coordination and oversight support to ensure that success metrics are tracked and achieved.

The Approach

In June 2017, LA-COE announced the first round of grant funding in three categories – Louisiana-led collaborative awards, research awards, and Louisiana graduate studentship awards to cover tuition, fees, and up to $5,000 for research expenses. In all, $2,530,803 was awarded to the research and collaborative awards with $422,180 awarded to the graduate studentships.

The Coastal Master Plan is a guiding document for the 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. The LA-COE, a separate program within The Water Institute of the Gulf, is sponsored by CPRA and administered by the Water Institute of the Gulf, a not-for-profit, independent applied research institute dedicated to providing advanced understanding and technical expertise to support management of coastal, deltaic and water systems, within Louisiana, the Gulf Coast and around the world.