To cap off the 2015 National Coastal Conference, University of New Orleans faculty members Mark Kulp and Ioannis Georgiou gave dozens of coastal scientists an up-close look at the flood control issues facing southeast Louisiana. The field trip closed out three days of activities at the conference, which was held Oct. 14-16 in New Orleans and organized by the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association.
Kulp and Georgiou, associate professors of earth and environmental sciences, led a tour called “Geology and Flood Risk of New Orleans.” The researchers developed the trip to showcase the unique geologic environment of New Orleans that creates the potential for flooding, as well as the current efforts to mitigate against regional coastal land loss. UNO’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences were designated as the official end-of-meeting field trip sponsors. The trip included stops at various levee, pump station and floodwall projects that have taken place since Hurricane Katrina.
“The group seemed to be most interested in how the underlying geology of the region makes it susceptible to flooding as well as the scale of improvements that have taken place to help protect the New Orleans community and its infrastructure,” Kulp said.
During the conference, Rachelle Thomason, a UNO master’s student in earth and environmental sciences, won the Best Poster Award. Thomason is studying the role of meteorological events and geologic substrate in the fragmentation of saltmarsh in eastern Louisiana.
The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association was founded in 1926 by individuals who recognized the need for an organized effort to combat erosion. The founding members of the association were active in persuading Congress to enact legislation authorizing federal sharing of the cost, first of erosion studies of specific problem areas and, later, of project works.