The Tulane Riverfront Initiative for Applied Coastal Sciences & Engineering
The need for coastal restoration and protection is clear. Since the 1930s, nearly 1,900 square miles of the coast have been lost in Louisiana. Reversing this trend will prove critical to sustaining the prosperity of New Orleans and its sister communities across the Mississippi River delta. In a bold strategy, Tulane has launched the Riverfront Initiative to promote economic and environmental revitalization targeting energy, the environment, and resilience.
The Riverfront Initiative will help transform New Orleans into a leading hub for scholarship, community engagement, training, and technology development. With the Tulane River and Coastal Center (TRCC) as a centerpiece, the Riverfront Initiative will serve as a magnet for research and investment, providing an exceptional platform for expanding economic sectors capable of restoring and protecting coastal resources and communities.
Tulane River and Coastal Center
Located on the Mississippi River waterfront close to the Morial Convention Center and the Central Business District, construction of the TRCC is well underway. Expected to open in the summer of 2016, the first phase of the TRCC will encompass ~8,000 ft2 of new laboratory, office, educational, and conferencing facilities. Another ~40,000 ft2 of space is being retrofitted to provide additional staging, storage, external and public outreach facilities. The TRCC will also host the Mississippi River Observatory, a node in a global water quality monitoring network (www.globalrivers.org), that provides real-time data on the river as it passes by New Orleans. The TRCC will serve as a springboard for further expansion of riverfront programs. Another ~400,000 sqft could be developed on the property to fully realize its academic and economic potential.
APPLIED RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP
The TRCC will support applied research and scholarship on the physical, biological, and coupled natural-human elements of rivers, coasts, and urbanizing deltas. Faculty and staff will work closely with partners and clients to develop and execute targeted research and restoration projects across the Gulf coast and other coastal regions around the world that are addressing similar challenges and opportunities.
ADVANCED EDUCATION AND TRAINING
The TRCC will host conferences and university courses, as well as lectures and seminars providing professional accreditation. The TRCC also will serve as a public forum for hosting professional societies and community groups.
The TRCC will serve as a visitor's center to educate and inform the general public. Addressing city, state, and national concerns, exhibitions will be staged to help residents and visitors understand coastal protection and restoration. The program will tell the story of the ecology, hydrology and uses of the Mississippi River, including how it can serve as a tool for rebuilding the Louisiana coast. The program will also address post-Katrina flood and hurricane protection, the reliance of coastal communities on ecosystem services from surrounding wetlands, interfaces between energy and the environment, and engineering a sustainable coast for future generations.
BUSINESS INCUBATION AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER
The TRCC will further promote economic development by spurring academic-industry and public-private collaborations. Serving as a node within the New Orleans entrepreneurial ecosystem, the TRCC will incubate innovation within the emerging environmental and energy sectors. Faculty and staff will help partners advance best practices by facilitating development, testing, and commercialization of technologies or processes intended to restore, protect, and manage coastal resources.
Only in New Orleans. Only at Tulane.
Michael Blum, Ph.D.
Coordinator for the Riverfront Campus Project
Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research