LSU faculty receives grant to study ecosystem design approaches

May 25, 2021 (Last Updated May 25th, 2021 13:11)

US Army Corps of Engineers provides a $9.3m grant to LSU Civil and Environmental Engineering professors.

LSU faculty receives grant to study ecosystem design approaches
US Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District Headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. Credit: Antony-22.

LSU Civil and Environmental Engineering professors have received a grant from the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) to study how rising sea levels and climate change impact coastal military bases and ecosystems.

Under the $9.3m grant, LSU professors Scott Hagen and Clint Willson will work alongside the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Environmental Laboratory (ERDC-EL) and the University of Delaware.

Through this project, the LSU faculty will apply ‘hydrology and hydraulics models’ to examine how overland and riverine flows are affected by natural and human systems.

LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio executive director Twilley said: “It’s our individual and collective efforts that gave us a profile where the University of Delaware and the US Army ERDC-EL looked at that and said we’re the missing piece.

“We have scholarly work that culminated in an effort where we’re translating systems ecology, large-scale physical modelling, and the coastal dynamics of sea-level-rise paradigm to develop collaborative ecosystem design approaches to restoring coastal land-margin regions here in Louisiana and around the US coasts.”

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has many installations around the US coasts.

Professor Willson stated that the project takes these DoD-owned facilities and training areas into consideration.

Willson said: “Ultimately, all of this applies to communities. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an army base or a facility along the coast.

“They still have to think about how their resource is going to be affected by changes in riverine flooding or whether it’s increased precipitation or flow from storm surge.”

This is considered to be the largest grant ever received by a single coastal engineering and science team at LSU.