BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — Governor Bobby Jindal announced plans for an institute specializing in coastal restoration, protection and water management. The research facility will be called ‘The Water Campus’ located in downtown Baton Rouge. The Water Campus is a collaboration of state & local government, non-profit organizations, and LSU.
The campus will be funded through a partnership of the State of Louisiana, the City of Baton Rouge, and the non-profit Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Developing the project will require 30 acres of land and about $45 million to construct three facilities.
The Water campus will include an education and research building, a river modeling center, and an office building to house the state’s Costal Protection and Restoration Authority, as well as other costal research organizations. The River modeling center is reported to house one of the largest and accurate moving physical river models in the world.
The goal is to foster collaboration between researchers to find solutions that will protect Louisiana’s coastal communities and sustain the wetlands. Jindal and organizers hope The Water Campus will position Louisiana as a trusted expert on coastal protection, and eventually help communities around the world.
Jindal says the campus will also have a large economic impact by making water management one the state’s biggest industries. The campus’s organizers, Louisiana Economic Development, say the industry could potentially create up to 20,000 direct jobs, and as much as 25,000 indirect jobs in Louisiana through 2030.
The Governor’s office says over $18 billion in state, federal, local, private and not-for-profit funds have been invested to protect and restore the coast, since 2008.
Jindal believes the Water Campus is the next step, saying, “While tremendous progress has been made, we must continue addressing the root causes of the coastal crisis facing Louisiana. This new campus will build upon our investments, and will provide an unprecedented collaboration of expertise right here in Baton Rouge.”
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Louisiana has lost approximately 1,900 square miles of land since 1932.