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LSU Center for River Studies


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The LSU Center for River Studies, a collaborative partnership between CPRA and LSU, is an unprecedented effort to showcase Louisiana’s working delta, the state’s coastal program, and research dedicated to coastal restoration and river management. The primary focus of the Center is to operate the Lower Mississippi River Physical Model, a 90 ft. x 120 ft. movable bed physical model, one of the largest of its kind in the world. The model produces semi-quantitative results associated with sediment transport in the lower Mississippi River and serves as a complementary planning tool to computer models and field data collection efforts.

The Lower Mississippi River Physical Model is based on exact parameters of many of the river’s physical and dynamic properties. The model flows water and bedload sediment through approximately 190 miles of the lowermost river and across the model’s 14,000 square mile section of Southeast Louisiana including Terrebonne, Barataria, Breton Sound, and Pontchartrain Basins. Designed to simulate the Mississippi River’s flows, depths, and sediment transport, the model is used by researchers, scientists, and engineers to improve our understanding of the lowermost Mississippi River and study how it responds to modification. Twenty high resolution projectors are mounted above the model bed to project aerial photographs, project features, diversion outputs, and other animated simulations.


The model is not only a tool for Louisiana-focused research, but will also develop river and coastal knowledge that can be exported to other coastal communities around the world. Additionally, the Center is used for outreach, engagement, and advocacy. A state-of-the-art 10,000 sf exhibit area offers several distinct themes with illustrations and interactive features to help visualize and communicate the importance of the Mississippi River Delta, the ongoing coastal land-loss crisis, and CPRA’s comprehensive Coastal Master Plan restoration and risk reduction program.


Water Campus:

The LSU Center for River Studies was one of the first completed buildings constructed on The Water Campus, recognized as a world-class research and engineering epicenter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Water Campus serves as a focal point for public, private, and non-profit collaboration to develop innovative environmental solutions for the challenges facing coastal communities in Louisiana and all over the world.


LSU | Center for River Studies: Media Package

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