Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards yesterday joined Dr. Jay Clune, president of Nicholls State University and Chip Kline, head of the Coastal Protection Restoration Authority (CPRA) in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create a new coastal studies center at Nicholls.
The center, to be similar to the LSU Center for River Studies, will concentrate on studying and researching the Terrebonne and Atchafalaya Basins and creating models and displays of the Atchafalaya River in order to aid in the implementation of integrated coastal protection projects in the region.
“This is the beginning of a partnership where we can focus our attention on the Atchafalaya River and the potential for it to be a restoration tool for the Terrebonne Basin,” said Governor Edwards. “The Terrebonne Basin has the highest rate of land loss of any basin along our coast, and it presents some of the most difficult conditions for us to implement projects.”
“Nicholls State University is located in the epicenter for coastal restoration with our service area losing more coastal land than anywhere else on the planet,” added Dr. Clune. “This partnership with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, its board and the State of Louisiana is vitally important as we focus more of our resources on preserving the land and Cajun culture in the Bayou Region.”
In 2018, the legislature transferred responsibility for the Atchafalaya Basin Program from the Department of Natural Resources to the CPRA. The program, as originally conceived, was meant to direct the efforts of the state as the local sponsor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Atchafalaya Floodway project.
The Basin Program has a master plan that was approved in 1999, and activities have expanded to address the needs of both the resources and the resource users of the Atchafalaya Basin.
Now that the Program has been transferred, CPRA is committed to continue the important work benefiting the Basin while tying this Program into the state’s larger coastal efforts.