(left to right) Warner Williams, Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company; Michael V. Martin, LSU Chancellor; Robert Twilley, Professor, LSU Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences Associate Vice Chancellor, Research and Economic Development; R. King Milling, Chairman, America's WETLAND Foundation, Governor's Coastal Commission; Sidney Coffee, Senior Advisor, America's WETLAND Foundation; Maj. Gen. Bill Bowdon, (USMC, ret.) President & CEO, LSU Foundation

America’s Wetland Foundation Announces $300,000 Donation to Forever LSU to Establish New Coastal Sustainability Studio


The America’s WETLAND Foundation, or AWF, announced a $300,000 donation to LSU and the Forever LSU campaign today. The gift will be used to establish the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio, a university-based professional training studio to restore, protect and sustain America’s WETLAND.

“We are very proud to be the founding sponsor of this initiative, which is really the first of its kind,” said AWF Chairman R. King Milling. “Building capacity in science and engineering is critical for the Gulf states, and especially Louisiana and its ability to plan and implement large-scale ecosystem restoration and protection projects – that’s why this is so important. Through this innovative concept, we will be able to gauge the sustainability of projects under consideration. As part of the foundation’s Climate, Energy & the Coast Project, the Coastal Sustainability Studio will help support the development of best practices in coastal engineering through a multi-disciplinary approach to complex design challenges. Other AWF initiatives, such as America’s Energy Coast and the America’s WETLAND Conservation Corps, allow us to impact policy development and maximize volunteer efforts on the ‘front lines’ of the battle. Through these and other efforts, I have no doubt we can make significant strides toward saving America’s WETLAND.”

The Coastal Sustainability Studio is also a part of LSU’s new Coastal Sustainability Agenda, or CSA, which seeks to integrate knowledge that will create informed policies and promote environmental and economic sustainability in coastal landscapes around the world.

“The Coastal Sustainability Studio is a multi-disciplinary effort that will use the challenges of restoring and protecting the Mississippi River Delta to develop new approaches to building more resilient communities,” said Robert Twilley, associate vice chancellor of research and economic development at LSU, director of the Coastal Sustainability Agenda and professor in the LSU Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences. “The physical studio will be situated on LSU’s campus, but the expertise will be drawn not only from LSU faculty but from coastal experts around the world.”

Twilley will head the effort, which will focus its restoration efforts on parishes in the delta plain as a test case in the coming months.

“We are truly grateful for the generous support of the America’s WETLAND Foundation and for all it does daily to raise awareness of the fight to save Louisiana’s coastal ecosystem,” said Twilley. “This gift will allow LSU to develop new ways to help our friends and neighbors live near the water in a sustainable fashion.”

The grant was made possible by generous support from Chevron, who is a partner in the foundation’s America’s Energy Coast initiative.

The studio will be supported by an executive committee, which includes representatives from various disciplines including: hurricane research, engineering, art and design, landscape architecture, geography, and law, among others. The studio will also be supported by an advisory committee that includes representatives from: AWF, Chevron, Shell, Arcadis, the Shaw Group, the Louisiana Recovery Authority, Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities, Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and the Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration.

This project is the second partnership between the America’s WETLAND Foundation and LSU. The America’s WETLAND Conservation Corps is a cooperative project with the LSU AgCenter, Louisiana Serves and Americorps, which places volunteers into service to save Louisiana’s valuable wetlands.

America’s WETLAND is one of the largest and most productive expanses of coastal wetlands in North America. This valuable landscape extending along Louisiana’s coast is disappearing at a rate of 24 square miles per year. 

The America’s WETLAND Foundation manages the largest, most comprehensive public education campaign in Louisiana’s history.  The campaign is raising public awareness of the impact of Louisiana’s wetland loss on the state, nation and world. The initiative is supported by a growing coalition of world, national and state conservation and environmental organizations and has drawn private support from businesses that see wetlands protection as a key to economic growth. For more information, visit www.americaswetland.com.

Support for the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio, such as that provided by the America’s WETLAND Foundation, is critical to the future of LSU, and contributes to the goals of the Forever LSU campaign, which now stands at a total of $616 million raised to date. Forever LSU is an historic fundraising effort which will generate more than $750 million in support for LSU by 2010, and help LSU maintain its Tier 1 status among American universities. To learn more about the goals of Forever LSU and how you can join the campaign for LSU’s future, visit www.foreverlsu.org.

Ashley Berthelot | Editor | Office of Communications & University Relations
July 2009