Research Projects

Current Projects

  • From Adapting in Place to Adaptive Migration: Designing and Facilitating an Equitable Relocation Strategy (RESTORE Act Center of Excellence for Louisiana)

A research group under the direction of Marla Nelson, Associate Professor, PLUS, will get $295,000 to design an effective and equitable relocation policy for people in Terrebonne Parish. The funded project directly relates to implementation of Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan, and will evaluate populations in Terrebonne Parish to identify the opportunities and challenges in designing a relocation policy that retains traditional communities while reducing risk. The team plans to collect data by interviewing residents about their concerns and priorities regarding the role of government in helping them relocate, should they decide to move. Nelson’s collaborators are Traci Birch of the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio, Anna Brand with UNO’s Department of Planning and Urban Studies, Renia Ehrenfeucht of the University of New Mexico, and Tara Lambeth with UNO’s Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology.

  • State of Louisiana Hazard Mitigation Plan Update (GOHSEP)

In partnership with Louisiana State University, the project team will update and develop material related to the 2019 Update of the Louisiana State Hazard Mitigation Plan, including the planning process, mitigation strategy and priorities, state mitigation, local coordination and mitigation, and repetitive loss strategy.

  • LA SAFE (Louisiana's Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments)(LA OCD DRU)

The Louisiana Office of Community Development Disaster Recovery Unit, in partnership with the Foundation for Louisiana, is leading a resident-driven planning process in Jefferson, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany and Terrebonne parishes. The process is designed to aid these parishes in planning for and adapting to climate change. UNO-CHART is conducting an evaluation of the resilience planning strategy and implementation, assisting with engagement, facilitation and education throughout the planning process, and providing support related to the Community Rating System program in the six participating parishes.

  • Multidisciplinary knowledge integration to support Louisiana coastal indigenous communities' response to natural and technological disasters and adaptation to climate change (NAS Gulf Research Program)

The project team plans to collaborate with two United Houma Nation communities to document how environmental stressors affect the livelihoods of these communities and shape the mitigation strategies they use to protect their coastal lands. The researchers, in collaboration with the tribe, will make use of traditional ecological knowledge, and examine local adaptation plans, and current mitigation efforts in order to understand the tribe's adaptive capacities now and into the future. They intend to produce a resource that can be used by the United Houma Nation and other indigenous communities facing similar challenges. This work may encourage other mitigation and adaptation planning efforts and increase communication between communities and policymakers.

  • Community Rating System Strategy for the State of Louisiana (GOHSEP)

CHART received a grant to develop a CRS Strategy for the State of Louisiana. The CRS, or Community Rating System, is a series of floodplain management activities that help communities to reduce flooding and receive discounts on flood insurance. Developing a strategy for the state will help to coordinate flood reduction efforts and aid communities in receiving higher discounts on flood insurance.

  • Evacuation & Return: Increasing Safety and Reducing Risk (FTA through City of New Orleans)

In partnership with the City of New Orleans and the Regional Transit Authority, the team will assess current evacuation transportation planning and related assets with a specific focus on vulnerable populations. We will also examine how technology and risk communication practices can serve all community members.

  • Community Rating System (CRS) User Group Support

The CRS, a voluntary program available to National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) participating communities, provides incentives for communities to go beyond the minimum floodplain management regulations established by the NFIP to minimize risk. The purpose of a CRS User's Group is to serve as a support and educational resource for local communities who participate in the CRS. UNO-CHART facilitates two separate CRS User's Groups in Louisiana; one around the Lake Pontchartrain area, and one in the Baton Rouge area. These two groups are comprised of only 16 of the 42 CRS participating communities in of Louisiana, but make up almost half of the total CRS discounts in the State. Groups are comprised of local officials who have been designated as CRS Coordinator for their communities. UNO-CHART provides support through facilitation of meetings and research.

  • Sea Level Rise Visualization Tool Application (Mississippi/Alabama Sea Grant)

The goal of this project is to support coastal sustainability through a better understanding of coastal ecosystems using local knowledge. The project team collaborates with coastal residents to develop adaptation strategies utilizing remotes sensing, GIS and interviews. Residents identify key points and resources which are at risk, and discuss ways they have adapted to land loss and sea level rise, as well as ways they may adapt to these hazards in the future.

  • Repetitive Flood Loss Reduction (City of New Orleans/HUD)

Since 2004, UNO-CHART continues to work with LA communities to reduce the impact of repetitive flood losses through three major deliverables: (1) website and web-based data portal; (2) area analyses (flood mitigation plans); and (3) education and outreach offered to homeowners in repetitively flooded areas. UNO-CHART has recently collaborated with the City of New Orleans to concentrate these efforts on properties across New Orleans. This work is useful to local officials for planning efforts, education and outreach, grant applications, and general floodplain management activities, all of which allow residents to live in a safer environment.

  • Global Transformation Convenings: Community Planning for Changing Environments (Rockefeller Foundation)

Using the LA SAFE project a foundation, this project will connect local to global adaptive strategies through many levels of governance, and with a variety of voices, to enhance our collective understanding of how to plan for and adapt to climate change, with equity as a central consideration. A three-part series of roundtable discussions will bring together international experts, state leaders and community organizers to share strategies and lay a blueprint to combat growing threats from climate-induced coastal erosion, rising sea levels and extreme flooding.

  • Informed by Climate Change: Pre-disaster planning, post-disaster recovery (Center for Planning Excellence/NOAA)

In response to the needs of Jean Lafitte and the surrounding area, the project team is working to 1) develop a Pre-disaster Redevelopment Plan for the Town of Jean Lafitte and southern Jefferson Parish based on expected future climate change scenarios and 2) create a replicable process and guide for coastal communities to develop their own Pre-disaster Redevelopment Plan informed by climate change.

Recently Completed Projects

  • Repetitive Floodloss Reduction Project for the State of LA/TX – Post Hurricane Katrina (FEMA) This project focuses on working with communities to reduce their numbers of repetitive losses (per FEMA's definition of repetitive loss) through three major deliverables: (1) website and web-based data portal, (2) area analysis, (3) outreach.
  • Community Education & Outreach (FEMA through GOHSEP) UNO-CHART has been funded to implement mitigation outreach and education projects intended to inform citizens, business owners, non-profit organizations, and local officials about the risks to which they are vulnerable and ways in which those risks can be reduced through multiple mitigation methods. Each of the following five projects will work towards increasing the overall awareness of the ability to address potential disasters before they happen: Continuity Contingency Planning and Mitigation for Community Organizations: Businesses, Government Agencies, Faith Organizations and Non-Profit Groups; Campus-Wide Coastal Hazards Resiliency Curriculum & Development of Hazard Mitigation Planning Curriculum; Risk Literacy; Disaster Resilient University State-Wide Conference; Community Executives Program in Storm Risk Management.
  • Blending Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (Sci-TEK) to Support Ecosystem Restoration (NOAA-CREST, MS/AL Sea Grant, LA Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration) By combining local knowledge with physical science, UNO-CHART, in partnership with UNO-PIES, La-OCPR, and residents, developed a methodology, Sci-TEK, to better inform coastal restoration decision-making process. This allowed for the integration of traditional ecological knowledge with physical science measures that were mapped and incorporated into the current planning process.
  • Mississippi/Alabama Sea Grant Sea Level Rise Visualization Tool Application (Partnering with PIES)
    This project worked to bring the newly released Sea Level Rise Visualization Tool to coastal residents to assess its usefulness and to discuss with residents the impacts of the projected sea level rise. Residents identified key points and resources which are at risk and discussed ways they have adapted in the past to land loss and sea level rise, as well as ways they may adapt to these new predictions. All findings will be incorporated into GIS and given back to MS/AL Sea Grant in order for them to make modifications to the tool that may improve its usability.
  • Coastal Restoration Companies and the RESTORE Act – A Telephone Survey (Environmental Defense Fund)

    Louisiana and the other Gulf Coast states are expected to receive significant new funding to support coastal restoration work through the Deepwater Horizon payments and settlements. We seek to collect information from businesses that will inform us on the issues relating to the economic impact, long-term success and implementation of projects to sustain sensitive coastal areas.

  • The Socioeconomic Effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Gulf Coast Communities (Oxfam)

    UNO-CHART is examining the impact of the BP Deepwater Horizon Macondo oil well blowout and disaster on the affected Gulf Coast communities. The goal is to show the array of impacts and portray a sense of the severity of each type of impact experienced by residents.

  • Hazard Mitigation Project Scoping & Plan Amendment (DHS-FEMA/GOHSEP)

    Through this grant, UNO-CHART will assist the University in identifying, evaluating, prioritizing, and scoping potential mitigation projects for our campus.

  • Hazard Mitigation Plan for the UNO Satellite Locations (DHS-FEMA/GOHSEP)

    In 2006, UNO-CHART led the development of a FEMA approved Mitigation Plan for the University's main campus. This grant allows us to assist the University in creating a Plan for its satellite locations.

  • Reconsidering the "New Normal": Impact of Trauma on Urban Ecological and Social Diversity (NSF – subcontract to Tulane University)

    In collaboration with Tulane and Xavier Universities, CHART is conducting an NSF-funded interdisciplinary research project on the impacts of traumatic events on social and ecological diversity, with New Orleans utilized as a case study. CHART's role on this project is to collect neighborhood-level data in the Lower 9th Ward, Hollygrove, and Pontchartrain Park neighborhoods, to trace the social networks, and to conduct comparative analyses of pre- and post-event diversity.

  • Community Engagement for Storm Risk Reduction (LaDOTD)

    State floodplain managers will partner with university faculty and personnel to engage the range of flood risk stakeholders in two communities - eastern and western part of Louisiana so that all partners can grow in capacity to support and collaborate on risk reduction planning and implementation.

  • Analysis of Stafford Act Performance for Catastrophe (Ford Foundation)

    Extensive concern has been expressed by governments, citizen victims and non-governmental organizations about the manner in which the federal government, and the state and local, responded to the catastrophe of hurricane Katrina. Systematic analysis of these issues is being undertaken.

  • Evaluation of Project, “Toward a Successful Evacuation of the Entire New Orleans Community” (Baptist Community Ministries/ARC)

    This grant provides funds to conduct an evaluation of the project entitled “Our Brothers Keeper (OBK)”, a faith-based evacuation project for the City of New Orleans. OBK project partners include: American Red Cross, Regional Planning Commission, and Total Community Action.

  • Community Elevation Conversations(PERI)

    A project to inform homeowners about elevating their homes to reduce flood risk, including education about government funding and other resources, to encourage a greater number of successful home elevations in the post-Katrina rebuilding process.

  • Mitigation Funding and Homeowner Assistance (Solutient)

    UNO-CHART is assisting Solutient in providing homeowner consultations regarding individual mitigation programs and related funding. This project served residents of lower Jefferson Parish.


    In partnership with SOARS, UNO-CHART engages university students from around the country in a participatory action research model (PAR) in ethnically diverse, at risk, coastal communities in Southeast Louisiana.

  • The BP Horizon Oil Disaster: Media Accounts and Community Impacts (NSF)

    UNO-CHART partnered with the University of Louisiana-Lafayette to address the following research question: What is the impact of the media accounting on the ways that communities come to understand the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster and are there intervening factors that mitigate community adoption of the media accounting?

  • Floodplain Management Policy & Program Evaluation (ASFPM)

    UNO-CHART partnered with ASFPM to assist the Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force FIFM-TF in the task of identifying impacts and barriers of federal programs with regard to achieving the goals of floodplain management, and those policies and programs that promote and support sound floodplain management.

  • Enhancing GOM Coastal Community Resiliency (NOAA)

    This project employs a PAR (Participatory Action Research) methodology for building local capacity in three South Louisiana coastal communities. The PAR methodology is a hands-off approach to research; university researchers are able to work alongside with community members over an extended time. There is a genuine respect for place, ideas and culture.

  • Resident-Driven Action Planning for Community Resiliency in Plaquemines Parish (Greater New Orleans Foundation)

    In partnership with residents of Plaquemines Parish, the UNO-CHART project team utilizes Participatory Action Research methods to work towards increased citizen involvement in the planning process for the Parish. The team works directly with the residents to ensure that local knowledge and the community's own vision are included in the multiple planning efforts that will have direct effects on Plaquemines Parish.

  • Local Coastal Zone Management Capacity Post Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: A Comparative Study (Louisiana Sea Grant)

    The hurricane events of 2005 have brought into critical focus the need to assess how best to provide the necessary tools to build knowledge and local capabilities to meet the needs of present and future challenges in coastal management in Louisiana. Following after a pre-hurricane study of the effectiveness of Louisiana's Local Coastal Program (LCP) in building local coastal zone management capacity in local decision-makers (Norris-Raynbird, 2006), this study is aimed at gathering post-event comparison data to examine the current status of Local Coastal Program development, knowledge of local decision makers pertaining to coastal zone management issues and perceptions of vulnerability.

  • How Safe/How Soon? Community Mitigation Implementation (Blue Moon Foundation via EDF)

    In the process of considering reducing risk from coastal flooding, communities are seeking support for a speedy response to more safe conditions by implementing non-structural efforts complementary to levees. EDF seeks to support such best practices using UNO-CHART and Tulane University Institute on Water Resources, Law and Policy to assist.