Seminar on “The Giving Delta” by Robert Twilley – March 10, 2016

Date|Time|Location: March 10, 2016 | 12:00pm | Exploratory Hall 3301
Speaker: Dr. Robert Twilley, Executive Director, Louisiana Sea Grant; Professor, Lousiana State University

***A meet-and-greet reception (with food and drink) hosted by the department will immediately follow the seminar***

The Giving Delta: An Ecosystem Design Plan to Promote Sustainable Deltaic Landscapes

Most major human population centers are located on deltaic plains because of their rich fertile soils and plentiful natural resources. Unfortunately, it is not clear if human occupation on many coastal river deltas is sustainable. Deltas all over the world are sinking beneath rising relative sea-level, largely a result of the combined effects of anthropogenic changes to sediment supply and river flow sufficient to counter subsidence and sea level rise. Tradeoffs in complex systems of large landscape requires systems analysis and design thinking of interacting natural and social infrastructure that involves the flows of water, energy, materials, and money. This analysis establishes values that appropriately steer management and planning options related to present and future risks. These risks can be to both natural and social systems and are usually determined by costs and benefits. The problem has always been that non-market values of natural systems, particularly those in large dynamic landscapes such as coastal deltas, are not realized until some major disturbance makes us aware of the true long-term cumulative impacts. Such is the case of the Mississippi River Basin where a history of alternative designs to control floods and promote the economic development associated with navigation have eclipsed the long-term value of the entire system in all its complexity. This presentation will describe ecosystem design approach to link multiple-purpose needs of the diverse services and stakeholders that a large river system and coastal network provides. The combination of systems and design thinking focuses on a three layered framework integrating Ecosystem, Economy, and Community resulting in an ecosystem design plan entitled ‘The Giving Delta’. The goals of the ecological, economic, and community system frameworks include aggressive reconnections of River’s natural flood pulse to the coastal landscape, relocating port operations, and development of delta communities along a more consolidated delta landscape. The Giving Delta framework plan lays out a vision over the next four generations for restoring the environment and leveraging the natural ability of human settlement to adapt and change to a long-term vision of the delta.

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Important Dates for Students

SPRING 2020 Semester (modified due to COVID-19)

MLK Day (university closed): Jan 20

First day of classes: Jan 21

Spring Break (extended): Mar 9-20

Dissertation/Thesis Deadline: May 8

Last day of classes: May 11

Reading Day(s): May 12

Final Exam Period: May 13-20

University Commencement: May 22 (tentative)

COVID-19 DATE CHANGES – For the complete modified spring calendar, see and for latest COVID-19 updates, see: