Research Organizations Join Forces to Form the Coastal-Hydrologic Consortium

President Alexander and LSU coastal faculty group photo with partners from The Water Institute of the Gulf and University of Iowa

LSU President F. King Alexander and LSU coastal experts form a strategic partnership with The Water Institute of the Gulf and the University of Iowa called the Coastal-Hydrologic Consortium. They signed a memorandum of understanding at the LSU Center for River Studies on April 15.

From left to right: The Water Institute of the Gulf's VP for Engineering Hugh Roberts, LSU Interim VP of Research & Economic Development Sam Bentley, LSU President F. King Alexander, Louisiana Sea Grant Executive Director and LSU College of the Coast & Environment Professor Robert Twilley, The Water Institute of the Gulf President & CEO Justin Ehrenwerth, University of Iowa's Edwin B. Green Chair in Hydraulics Larry Weber, LSU Center for River Studies Director Clint Wilson, LSU Center of Coastal Resiliency Director and Louisiana Sea Grant Laborde Chair Scott Hagen, University of Iowa's Director of IIHR–Hydroscience & Engineering Gabriele Villarini and CPRA Chairman Chip Kline.

Photo Credit: Roy Kron, Louisiana Sea Grant.

BATON ROUGE – Regional water management has become a critical issue not only in Louisiana, but around the country and world. Repeated high water events on the Mississippi River leading to widespread flooding, rain events that leave resident’s homes flooded and streets unpassable, and storm systems that can cause personal and economic hardship are becoming more common.

It’s crucial that the science and the translation of that science into actionable projects and programs be developed and as such, on Monday, April 15, LSU, Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, the University of Iowa and The Water Institute of the Gulf signed a memorandum of understanding to form the Coastal-Hydrologic Consortium.

“This is what we’re supposed to do,” said Scott Hagen, director of LSU’s Center of Coastal Resiliency and Louisiana Sea Grant Laborde Chair. “Our mission is to find ways to collaborate to not only perform the best science possible, but to find ways to get that information presented in a way that decisions can be made for our communities’ future.”

“This strategic partnership will help us tackle one of today’s most complex problems that communities around the world are facing — flooding. The science and policy borne from this partnership will have a ripple effect that can strengthen our communities, the economy and our way of life,” said LSU Interim Vice President of Research & Economic Development Sam Bentley.

The MOU signed Monday outlines that the partners recognize that together they are better able to develop research projects that help advance science and engineering of coastal-hydrologic processes that include the connections between the coast and inland for the purpose of making these communities and economies more resilient in the face of disaster.

“Universities produce the research needed to solve problems, while Louisiana Sea Grant and the Institute provide the outreach to put that research to work for elected officials, decisions makers and the public,” said Robert Twilley, executive director of Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU College of the Coast & Environment professor. “This consortium provides the mechanism to create a powerful synergy and increase all of our abilities to problem solve around this important issue.”

“This gathering of expertise and different skill sets in order to tackle complicated challenges is the exact purpose of The Water Campus, where the LSU Center for River Studies is one of the foundational occupants,” said Clint Willson, director of the LSU Center for River Studies. “Bringing together the universities, the Institute and Louisiana Sea Grant to build not only the science around water management and adaptation, but to transfer that knowledge and tools so it can be applied in people’s lives. That’s why I find this so exciting.”

“Finding ways to bring together experts from many different fields of study in order to better tackle water management challenges is at the heart of the Institute’s mission,” said Hugh Roberts, The Water Institute of the Gulf vice president of engineering. “I am incredibly excited about what this new consortium will accomplish as we work together to bring science into action.”

“Building on ongoing collaborative efforts between our institutions, this MOU provides an ideal framework for the exchange and transfer of information, knowledge and technology among the partners towards addressing the challenging problems associated with combined coastal and riverine flooding,” said Larry Weber, Edwin B. Green Chair in Hydraulics at the University of Iowa and professor of civil and environmental engineering.

“We’ve always maintained that finding ways to help communities, economies and cultures adapt to a changing environment is more than any one institute or university can do alone,” said Justin Ehrenwerth, The Water Institute of the Gulf president and CEO. “Consortiums, like the one we formed today, allow us to effectively collaborate and bring our collective expertise and abilities to the table and produce the type of tools communities around the world need.”




Contact Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations


Amy Wold
The Water Institute of the Gulf