STEWARDSHIP OF WATER RESOURCES
Identify jurisdictional boundaries among state and federal agencies working on these issues, as well as conflicting legal mandates that may hamper action. Alert states and national policy makers to specific options for redrawing these agency boundaries and resolving legal conflicts.
CIVIL WORKS AGENDA FOR SUSTAINING U.S. WATER RESOURCES
Using Louisiana’s experience with rising seas, climate change, infrastructure failings, and wetland loss to highlight the need for innovation, work with national partners to articulate a prioritized civil works agenda for sustaining US water resources.
Work with state and national regulators, NGOs, industry and scholars to make formal recommendations to the President-elect regarding the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The recommendations stress the need to aggressively confront climate change in ways that maximize economic opportunity as well as environmental gain. You can view the report here.
Inform local, regional and national foundations about what sustainability means for the Gulf Coast region. Help these foundations leverage their private capital at the national level in ways that can better support communities facing land loss and climate change.
Work with diverse partners to secure more reliable sources of federal funding for coastal protection and restoration projects throughout the US, using traditional sources, such as Water Resources Development Act, and other federal and state funding processes.
LIVING WITH WATER PROGRAM: REDEFINING LOUISIANA'S RELATIONSHIP TO WATER
The Institute is developing the Living with Water Program to look at community adaptation to water dynamics in an integrated fashion. The program will be based on the understanding that water and related infrastructure and ecosystems shape communities, and that water scarcity, access and management are all related. We encourage academic institutions, community organizations, non-profit organizations and technical experts to collaborate with citizens seeking to create resilient communities. The ideas garnered by the program will ground the water policies we propose in field tested research and experience. Our work in this regard has direct national and international applications. The models we develop in Louisiana can inform the choices made by communities facing the effects of rising seas and erratic weather patterns, and we too can learn from their experiences. This interchange of information will be a critical part of the Institute’s work in coming years.
HOW SAFE, HOW SOON PROJECT
Help citizens begin adapting to the changing coast through the How Safe, How Soon project. The program helps communities such as the United Houma Nation in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes, as well as citizens in New Orleans’s Lower 9th Ward and Carrollton/Hollygrove neighborhoods. Through the How Safe, How Soon program these citizens assess their flooding risk and develop long-term visions for the future as they face the consequences of climate change and wetland loss.
Help citizens understand and act on the challenges of living with water. This includes decoding regulatory and legal processes so that citizens may be active partners in helping to reduce flooding risks in their communities. The Institute helps citizens identify and ask questions related to issues as varied as coastal restoration plans, drainage proposals, and land rights. In all cases, our focus is helping all parties involved exchange information in the most productive way.
NOLA MASTER PLANNING PROCESS
Assist the New Orleans Master Planning Process by providing guidance about the city’s history with water and how that history, and the present legal landscape, must inform future decision making.
MANAGING LOUISIANA'S WATER WEALTH
Louisiana has been shaped by water like no other state in the union. The Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico fueled New Orleans’s growth and prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries. The abundant rainfall and fresh water that Louisiana receives have literally carved the law of the land through vast stretches of coast and upland areas. And yet, even as other states scramble for fresh water rights, Louisianans have a history of taking water for granted, of considering it an inconvenience rather than a resource that must be safeguarded.
This laissez-faire approach is now colliding with other trends- strong popular support for comprehensive coastal restoration, the need for groundwater protection, and the growing problem of the Dead Zone in the Gulf. If our state is to meet these challenges and enjoy a sustainable and prosperous future, we must take a more directed approach to water policy. In addition, we need to know what the state’s current laws do and do not allow in order to pursue large coastal restoration and other civil works programs. It is vital to have as firm a grip on the legal landscapes that shapes resource management decisions as it is to understand the ecological and geopolitical landscapes. Given these needs, a key aspect of the Institute’s mission is to contribute to Louisiana’s shift toward sustainability by illuminating the state’s water laws and by fostering laws and policies that promote better water stewardship.
EXISTING WATER LAWS
To access Louisiana Law visit The Web Portal to the Louisiana State Legislature and click "Louisiana Laws" in the taskbar to the left.
LAND, ENERGY AND MINERAL USES
Consider land, energy and mineral uses, and their impact on freshwater resources ad other water uses.
Consider how state laws might need to change in order to best support coastal restoration.
EFFECTS OF SEA LEVEL RISE
Evaluate how rising sea levels might affect Louisiana’s coastal communities under existing laws and determine how Louisiana court better prepare to confront the effects of climate change.
COASTAL RESTORATION, PROTECTION, AND CONSERVATION
STAKEHOLDER ATLAS OF LOUISIANA
Expand the Stakeholder Atlas of Coastal Louisiana, a document that identifies major private landowners, public projects, and authorities that have legal rights or duties in coastal Louisiana. The atlas also provides a broad overview of policy in the region. We created the atlas to assist the Corps of Engineers as it was developing the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration study in early 2008. We expect to expand the atlas, both in terms of geographic coverage and programs and agency jurisdictions described. These expansions will be driven by demand from state and federal agencies as well as private foundations.
COASTAL LAND TRUST
Work with state regulators to create rules and regulations that reconcile surface and subsurface land management with state coastal conservation, restoration and protection initiatives. The intent of this project is to create a coastal land trust that will increase the speed with which coastal projects can be brought on line.
OUTREACH AND EDUCATION
Host the Percy Viosca Distinguished Speaker Series, which features men and women who have played a pivotal role in shaping Louisiana’s environmental future.
16th Annual Tulane Law School Summit on Environmental Law and Policy: The Energy Equation. April 1-3, 2011.
Current collaborative partnerships with other university centers include the Tulane Payson Center,the Tulane School of Public Health, Tulane/Xavier Center, and the Louisiana Sea Grant Legal Program. The Institute is also working with the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute, Dillard University, and The University of New Orleans to develop a project proposal that will fill the gap between scientific information about hurrican flood risk and local risk mitigation decision making.
Offer a course on Water Resources Law and Policy that focuses on ownership, control and use of water resources. The course is taught at Tulane University Law School. The course has been offered since 2008 and typically attracts up to 20 students per semester.