2021 Merit Award

Analysis, Planning, Research and Communications

Our Future Coast

The Louisiana Gulf Coast

Landscape Architect:

SCAPE

Project Team:

Dr. Don Boesch
The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Campaign
The Walton Family Foundation
Deep Fried Advertising

OUR FUTURE COAST (WITH DR. DON BOESCH)_1

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About the Project:

What would it look like if the largest-funded restoration effort in history was successful? Bold, landscape- scale transformations are needed to address the disappearing Louisiana coast. ‘Our Future Coast’ – developed alongside a world-renowned coastal expert and local environmental advocates – paints a positive vision for a future for Louisiana coastal restoration. Comprised of both multimedia digital content and a detailed scientific case for the regional benefits of coastal restoration from one of the nation’s leading scientists, Our Future Coast re-frames the land loss crisis in Louisiana in terms of what we stand to gain – and has been used to support environmental advocacy and education efforts, intended to be repurposed for building broad public consensus around the financing and implementation of restoration projects.

Special Factors & Additional Information:

In multimedia form – a website, animation and video intended to be repurposed for local environmental advocacy groups – the team outlined a fifty-year vision for six of the basins comprising the Louisiana coast: Pontchartrain, the Bird’s foot Delta, Barataria, Terrebonne, Atchafalaya, and the Chenier Plain. In each of these basins, designers studied land loss alongside accomplished and planned restoration, following the framework of the 2017 Coastal Master Plan for Louisiana – a combination of measures including sediment diversions, barrier island maintenance, and marsh creation.

 

For each basin, the team analyzed a suite of the most salient restoration strategies, coupling them with frameworks for economic productivity and growth, including:

 

  • Sediment Diversions / Implement controlled diversions of river water to carry sediment that revives collapsing wetlands by capturing river born soils, and build new land where the old has disappeared.
  • Barrier Islands and Headlands / Manage barrier islands and headlands not as fixed places, but as part of an evolving and responsive delta system that creates natural balance.
  • New Navigation Options / Find a means to allow ships to navigate into and out of the ports without allowing saltwater to intrude and freshwater and soil to escape.
  • Natural Barriers / Buffer communities from hurricane surge and rising seas by rebuilding natural barriers.
  • Healthy Estuaries / Maintain healthy estuaries by restoring the natural balance between fresh and saltwater.
  • Limit Wetlands Loss / Prevent or reduce erosion of wetland shorelines caused by human activities, relying wherever possible on natural solutions like oyster reefs.

 

The vision was developed in an  iterative process –  with  scientific research informing  design and vice versa – ultimately shaped into a multi-purpose communication tool able to be used by a broad base of advocates and experts in Louisiana’s growing water sector.

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