Kenneth Bahlinger (BLA ’85) Receives 2017 LaGasse Medal for Landscape Architects

Kenneth Bahlinger, (BLA ’85), received the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) 2017 LaGasse Medal for his significant contributions to the management and conservation of natural resources and public landscapes.

Kenneth Bahlinger

Kenneth is an award-winning landscape architect who has worked for the state of Louisiana restoring coastal wetlands for 26 years. Through his professional work, he has made significant contributions to the management and conservation of natural resources. He has assumed leadership of the Coast Vegetative Planting Program and the Christmas Tree Program, and was the landscape architect of record on vegetation plantings on state coastal restoration projects. More recently he has been a senior project manager of multiple large-scale restoration projects on the Louisiana coast.

“For the past 26 years I have been involved with the implementation of large scale ecological restoration projects on the coast of Louisiana,” Kenneth said.

Kenneth Bahlinger on site

The Louisiana Coast Vegetative Planting Program, a unique partnership to plant marsh vegetation throughout Louisiana’s coastal zone, was created to protect and restore wetlands. Through the program, over one million plants have been planted and monitored for their effectiveness across coastal Louisiana. Kenneth was the program administrator, working with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Office of Soil and Water Conservation and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“The program was an extraordinary vehicle for vegetative restoration to be accomplished on the grass roots level,” said Justin Lemoine, ASLA Louisiana Chapter President, in his nomination letter recommending Kenneth for the medal.

The Christmas Tree Program was designed as a coastal restoration technique, a means of reducing the amount of Christmas trees ending up in local landfills, and as an outreach program to engage the public in the fight to restore coastal wetlands. Over the years, hundreds of acres of wetlands were restored and over a million Christmas trees were diverted from landfills.

As Chief Landscape Architect with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and subsequently the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Kenneth was responsible for the development of plans and specifications for dozens of coastal restoration projects over the years. Large-scale restoration projects he led include the Scofield Island and the Long Distance Sediment Pipeline Project, and the Mississippi River Long Distance Sediment Pipeline Project.

coastal restoration before and after

(Photos of before and after the coastal restoration project in the Mississippi River marsh areas)

“It is with great honor and privilege to be awarded the LaGasse Medal,” Kenneth said. “I will treasure the LaGasse Medal with the greatest respect to the ASLA and especially to all of my professors and classmates at the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture.”