The Water Campus - page 12

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration
Authority will relocate from rented offices in
downtown Baton Rouge to a new building on
The Water Campus. CPRA is implementing a $50
billion master plan for the Louisiana coast. The
agency will house its 165-member team on the
Campus. Implementing the coastal plan is estimated
to produce up to 20,000 direct jobs and up to 25,000
indirect jobs through 2030.
Under construction in late 2014, the first building on
The Water Campus will be a lab that allows scientists
to create scale models of the lower Mississippi River.
The lab will enable scientists to understand the highly
complex interplay between land and water. Operated
by LSU and funded by the Louisiana Coastal
Protection and Restoration Authority, the $16 million
lab will be built on a park at the Campus.
Scientists will use the lab for applied testing of new
levees and barriers to better predict and prepare for
rising seas. They will also study the real effects of
surges on the eroding wetlands that buffer Louisiana
against violent storms.
Built in the 1920s, the old Municipal Dock was left
behind by advances in the shipping industry. This
long-abandoned eyesore will be reinvented as a new
36,000-square-foot home for the Water Institute of
the Gulf, and the icon of the Campus. The Institute
was created in 2012 to study – and defy – the global
crisis of disappearing wetlands. Scientists at the
Institute are tackling tough questions, like how to
build new land; which places along eroding coasts
can be saved and which cannot; what can be done
to help the threatened communities and preserve
their cultures. The Institute provides the kind of
unassailable science needed to guide Louisiana's $50
billion coastal plan.
Construction will begin early next year to transform
the hulking old Municipal Dock into a $25 million,
four-story contemporary facility for The Water
Institute. Visible to more than 50,000 people crossing
the Mississippi River Bridge into Baton Rouge each
day, the Institute's building will not only facilitate
vital research, but it will also include educational
space devoted to teaching how they can adapt to the
double peril of rising seas and disappearing deltas.
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