Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Ecosystem Restoration Program – Adaptive Management and Monitoring Planning and Implementation Support

Science Center Objects

Adaptive management (AM) is an iterative science-based process that accepts uncertainties in ecological systems and uses best available science and technology such as research, modeling, experimentation, monitoring and evaluation to address uncertainties. 

Mississippi River Hydro Study Delta Management
Mississippi River hydro study delta management

The Science Issue and Relevance: Ecosystem and environmental restoration projects are complex and dynamic. It has been difficult for traditional project management structures to respond to unpredictable ecosystem system response and rapidly changing conditions. Adaptive management (AM) is an iterative science-based process that accepts uncertainties in ecological systems and uses best available science and technology such as research, modeling, experimentation, monitoring and evaluation to address uncertainties. AM allows for continual assessment to improve or adapt restoration and management actions as a project/program moves from planning to design and construction and, eventually, to monitoring and evaluation. Current LCA projects include:

  • Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study (MRHDM) - A large-scale study to address the long-term sustainability of the lower Mississippi River Deltaic Plain. Ecosystem restoration features that maximize the deposition of Mississippi River sediment in coastal areas and aid in restoring delta growth and wetland sustainability will be identified and evaluated. Large-scale river diversions, dredging, and outfall management measures are being considered.
  • Beneficial Use of Dredged Material (BUDMAT) -The objective of BUDMAT is to optimize the use of dredged materials resulting from the maintenance of federally maintained navigation channels for ecosystem restoration beneficial use projects.  
Study Areas in the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA)
Study areas in the Louisiana coastal area (LCA)

Methodology for Addressing the Issue: WARC facilitates the development and implementation of the AM and monitoring programs for the LCA projects. Specific tasks include:

  • Planning, development, coordination, revisions, and refinement for the AM and monitoring;
  • Development of conceptual ecological models;
  • Acting as a monitoring and AM liaison to incorporate knowledge and lessons learned from other programs and facilitate the transfer of science information between programs and agencies;
  • Consulting and advising on issues related to AM and monitoring during the feasibility and preconstruction engineering and design phases to ensure AM principles are incorporated in the project design;
  • Technical support and interpretation of data;
  • Co-leading monitoring and AM programs.

Future Steps: Continued development and implementation of monitoring AM programs for the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Program Restoration Program.