With four massive hurricanes impacting Louisiana between 2005 and 2008, the state has been forced to face the challenges of a changing landscape in both urban and rural areas. Addressing issues such as land subsidence, rise of sea level, loss of wetlands and increased storm activity have become more urgent with every passing year.
The LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio, or CSS, will be at the forefront of assisting communities to tackle these concerns, as it was recently awarded a $600,000 contract to oversee the Resiliency Assistance Program for the State of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development, or ODC, Disaster Recovery Unit, or DRU. The CSS is a collaborative effort housed in the College of Art and Design and involves multiple colleges and schools within the University including engineers, coastal scientists, architects and landscape architects.
The assistance program is part of OCD’s Comprehensive Resiliency Program, which was developed to provide non-structural recovery – creation of legislation, policies, knowledge and public commitment – to some of the state’s most at-risk communities to avoid future disaster situations. The program is currently funding a series of 29 local resiliency projects throughout the state
Jeff Carney, director of the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio, said that the program will assist the smallest and most underserved communities to access planning efforts locally, while also presenting a clear vision for resiliency planning in Louisiana to the rest of the state and the nation.
Through the resiliency program, funds were made available to local governments and non-profit entities in parishes impacted by hurricanes Gustav and Ike through a competitive application process. Of the 64 communities that applied for the program, 29 projects were awarded grants in June 2010, totaling more than $9 million.
Carney said he believes CSS’ involvement with the resiliency assistance program will not only benefit those directly impacted by resiliency issues, but will also have an effect on current coastal research and assistance efforts at LSU.
“For us, it’s a great scale of work to undertake and a great opportunity to increase our engagement with communities across Louisiana dealing with these issues,” he said. “For LSU, it’s a good step as well. There’s a lot of work being done here to address resiliency issues, but much of it is specifically targeted to one particular discipline or audience. A lot of things are being done that are disconnected from one another. We see this project as a means to unite many of those efforts and shed some light on the great work happening at LSU and the College of Art & Design.”
To learn more about LSU’s Coastal Sustainability Studio, visit http://css.lsu.edu.
Contact Aaron Looney
LSU Media Relations