The state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has awarded $250,000 in grants addressing river diversions and coastal soils.
CPRA and The Water Institute of the Gulf announced Tuesday that although they received 19 applications totaling $1.8 million in research grant requests, there was only money enough to fund three of the applications.
One of the grants will go toward a one-year LSU study examining what happens to nutrients in river water once they enter coastal marshes. There has been a long-running controversy over whether nutrients help or hurt coastal marsh stability.
A second grant will go to the University of New Orleans for a one-year study of the strengths of different coastal soils, a study that could lead to better understanding of how different marsh types withstand tropical and other storms.
A third grant will go to an LSU researcher for a two-year study of areas of the Mississippi River that don’t contain levees.
The goal is to see how sediment is captured or lost by the marsh on either side of the river. This should help determine better ways of predicting how much sediment in the river is actually available for coastal restoration.
In addition, The Water Institute of the Gulf announced two endorsements for coastal restoration techniques as part of the Coastal Innovation Partnership Program. The program, administered by the institute, accepts applications from businesses that have a new restoration technique, selects the ones that have been developed enough to be evaluated and then has an independent panel evaluate the ideas.
The endorsement doesn’t mean the businesses are guaranteed any contracts; it just means The Water Institute of the Gulf has reviewed the new technology and finds it worthy of consideration, said Nick Speyrer, director of planning, coordination and outreach with the institute.
One endorsed innovation for the 2015 solicitation is HydroTurf Advanced Revetment Technology from Watershed Geosynthetics LLC for a system of fiber-reinforced concrete to help protect the landward side of levees from water overtopping erosion.
The second is Vegetated EcoShield from Martin Ecosystems that involves placing a material in front of levees that not only provides shoreline protection from erosion but also enables plants to grow to provide better stability.
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