Could the solution to Louisiana’s retreating coastal wetlands be found in our wastewater? Through the process of wetland assimilation, wastewater is introduced into wetlands, promoting plant growth and maintaining ecological dignity while simultaneously preventing direct discharges of treated wastewater into state bodies of water. Statewide, Louisiana in embarking on massive wetlands assimilation projects. This panel will explore the potential benefits and risks associated with wastewater assimilation.
- Matt Rota, Senior Policy Director, Gulf Restoration Network
Mr. Rota is the Senior Policy Director for the Gulf Restoration Network. Through his work with GRN, he advocates for healthy waters throughout the Gulf of Mexico region. He also works with Mississippi River Basin organizations to promote policies that will reduce the Dead Zone-causing pollution flowing to the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Rota currently focuses on water pollution issues in Louisiana, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico, working to ensure adequate policies regarding the BP oil drilling disaster, wetlands, water quality, and nitrogen and phosphorus pollution are adopted and implemented in order to protect and restore waters of the Gulf of Mexico region. He is co-Chair of the Nutrients Workgroup for the Mississippi River Collaborative and has given numerous presentations on water pollution issues including the Dead Zone, sewage pollution, wetlands, the BP Oil Drilling Disaster, at professional and technical conferences throughout the country. He earned his B.S. in Ecology, Evolutionary, and Organismal Biology from Tulane University and his Masters of Earth and Environmental Resources Management from the University of South Carolina.
- Dr. Brady K. Skaggs, Program Director – Water Quality, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation
Brady completed his undergraduate studies in microbiology at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia then went on to complete his Master’s degree (MSPH) in Public Health at Tulane University. He obtained his Doctorate degree at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, focusing on water and wastewater disinfection technologies in the Environmental Health Sciences program. Brady is currently involved in projects that investigate pollution source tracking, commercial and home wastewater-system inspections, and weekly monitoring of the Lake Pontchartrain’s water quality for the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, a local not-for-profit located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Brady is originally from Jacksonville, Florida.
- John W. Day, Jr., Professor emeritus, Dept. of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, LSU John W. Day, Jr. is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department ofOceanography and Coastal Sciences, College of the Coast & Environment at Louisiana State University, where he has taught since 1971. He has published extensively on the ecology and management of coastal and wetland ecosystems, with emphasis on the Mississippi delta, and has over 250 peer-reviewed publications. He is co-editor (with B. Crump, M. Kemp, and A. Yáñez-Arancibia) of Estuarine Ecology 2013, 2nd edition; coeditor (with C. Hall) of Ecological Modeling in Theory and Practice; coeditor (with W. Conner) of The Ecology of the Barataria Basin, An Estuarine Profile, coeditor (with A. Yáñez-Arancibia) of the Ecology of Coastal Ecosystems in the Southern Mexico: The Terminos Lagoon Region; coeditor (with A. Yáñez-Arancibia) of Ecosystem Based Management of the Gulf of Mexico in 2013; and co-author of Americas Most Sustainable Cities and Regions – Surviving the 21st Century Megatrends (2016). Professor Day received his PhD in marine sciences and environmental sciences from the University of North Carolina in 1971 working with the noted ecologist Dr. H.T. Odum. Since then, he has conducted extensive research on the ecology and management of the Mississippi Delta and for the last 40 years, has studied coastal ecosystems in Mexico. He was a visiting professor in the Institute of Marine Sciences of the National University of Mexico in 1978-1979, at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands during 1986, at the Laboratoire d’Ecologie, Unversité Claude Bernard in Arles France during 1992-93, and in the Department of Geography at Cambridge University in 2000-2001. He has also worked with the University of Campeche and the Institute of Ecology in Xalapa, Mexico. From 1992-2017, Professor Day worked in the Mediterranean studying the impacts of climate change on wetlands in Venice Lagoon and in the Po, Rhone and Ebro deltas. He has worked on using wetlands as a means of removing nitrogen from the Mississippi River. Dr. Day also served as a member of the hypoxia reassessment taskforce and published with Dr. William Mitsch on this subject. He is currently involved in research on the impacts of 21st century megatrends on sustainability of natural and human systems. He served as chair of the National Technical Review Committee reviewing the restoration program for the Mississippi delta and is currently active in delta restoration. He served as chair of the Science and Engineering Special Team on restoration of the Mississippi delta (a book on this effort was published in 2014). He serves on the Scientific Steering Committee of the Future Earth Coasts program, an international coastal science effort. He served on a National Research Council panel on urban sustainability. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship for study in France and the Estuarine Research Federation Cronin Award for excellence in teaching in coastal sciences. He has served as major professor for 70 MS and PhD students and has written and edited 14 books, published over 250 peer-reviewed articles, and has a total of about 350 publications. His work has been cited over 17,000 times.
- Mark Davis, Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law & Policy (moderator)
A widely consulted and quoted authority on water law and management, Mark Davis joined Tulane Law School in 2007 as a senior research fellow and founding director of the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy. In 2017 he also became the director of Tulane’s ByWater Institute which is focused the interdisciplinary aspects of water stewardship and community resilience. He lectures widely on water resource management, is directly involved in helping Louisiana overhaul its long-term water planning and has testified frequently before Congress on the need for a focused and effective commitment to the viability of coastal Louisiana and other vital natural treasures. Davis spent 14 years as executive director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, where he helped shape programs and policies at the state and federal level to improve the stewardship of the wetlands and waters of coastal Louisiana. He has practiced law in Indianapolis, the District of Columbia and Chicago and has taught at the Indiana University (Indianapolis) School of Business and the IIT-Chicago Kent School of Law in Chicago.