Tim J.B. Carruthers, Richard C. Raynie, Alyssa M. Dausman, and Syed Khalil, 2020. “Strategies to implement adaptive management practices for restoration in coastal Louisiana”, Shore & Beach 88(1), 83-91. http://doi.org/10.34237/10088110
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Strategies to improve implementation of adaptive management practices for restoration in coastal Louisiana
Tim J.B. Carruthers (1), Richard C. Raynie (2) Alyssa M. Dausman (1), and Syed Khalil (2)
1) The Water Institute of the Gulf, Baton Rouge, LA 70802; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Baton Rouge, LA 70804; email: Richard.Raynie@LA.GOV
Natural resources of coastal Louisiana support the economies of Louisiana and the whole of the United States. However, future conditions of coastal Louisiana are highly uncertain due to the dynamic processes of the Mississippi River delta, unpredictable storm events, subsidence, sea level rise, increasing temperatures, and extensive historic management actions that have altered natural coastal processes. To address these concerns, a centralized state agency was formed to coordinate coastal protection and restoration effort, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). This promoted knowledge centralization and supported informal adaptive management for restoration efforts, at that time mostly funded through the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA). Since the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in 2010 and the subsequent settlement, the majority of restoration funding for the next 15 years will come through one of the DWH mechanisms; Natural Resource and Damage Assessment (NRDA), the RESTORE Council, or National Fish and Wildlife Foundation –Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (NFWF-GEBF). This has greatly increased restoration effort and increased governance complexity associated with project funding, implementation, and reporting. As a result, there is enhanced impetus to formalize and unify adaptive management processes for coastal restoration in Louisiana. Through synthesis of input from local coastal managers, historical and current processes for project and programmatic implementation and adaptive management were summarized. Key gaps and needs to specifically increase implementation of adaptive management within the Louisiana coastal restoration community were identified and developed into eight tangible and specific recommendations. These were to streamline governance through increased coordination amongst implementing entities, develop a discoverable and practical lessons learned and decision database, coordinate ecosystem reporting, identify commonality of restoration goals, develop a common cross-agency adaptive management handbook for all personnel, improve communication (both in-reach and outreach), have a common repository and clearing house for numerical models used for restoration planning and assessment, and expand approaches for two-way stakeholder engagement throughout the restoration process. A common vision and maximizing synergies between entities can improve adaptive management implementation to maximize ecosystem and community benefits of restoration effort in coastal Louisiana. This work adds to current knowledge by providing specific strategies and recommendations, based upon extensive engagement with restoration practitioners from multiple state and federal agencies. Addressing these practitioner-identified gaps and needs will improve engagement in adaptive management in coastal Louisiana, a large geographic area with high restoration implementation within a complex governance framework.