Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) is Louisiana’s single state entity with authority to articulate a clear statement of priorities and to focus development and implementation efforts to achieve comprehensive coastal protection for Louisiana. Its mandate is to develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive coastal protection and restoration master plan (the Coastal Master Plan). CPRA is the Center's project sponsor and contract manager with ultimate responsibility over the Center. CPRA works with the Center to develop the Standard Operating Procedures, Research Strategy, and Requests for Proposals, and is involved in aspects of proposal review and selection, depending on the specifics of any Request for Proposals issued.

The Water Institute of the Gulf

The Center is a separate program within the Institute’s existing organizational structure. Key functions of the Center include: coordination of committees and working groups; support of the development of operational procedures, a Research Strategy to support implementation of the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan, and development and issuance of Requests for Proposals; oversight and administration of a competitive grants process; management of research grants; monitoring of research progress; establishment of and monitoring of adherence to appropriate data management practices; and reporting on progress using success metrics. Key personnel responsible for Center activities and oversight are:

Ehab Meselhe, Ph.D., Vice President for Engineering at the Institute, serves as director of the Center, Alyssa Dausman, Ph.D., Vice President for Science, serves as the chief scientist of the Center, and Melissa M. Baustian, Ph.D., coastal ecologist at the Institute, serves as deputy director.


The Executive Committee is comprised of senior research officials from Louisiana’s universities and research organizations, and is weighted towards those with a strong historic focus on coastal issues, including:

  • Kalliat T. Valsaraj, Louisiana State University
  • Sumeet Dua, Louisiana Tech University
  • Craig McClain, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium
  • John Doucet, Nicholls State University
  • Laura Levy, Tulane University
  • Ramesh Kolluru, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • Matthew A. Tarr, University of New Orleans
  • Deborah Marshall, Xavier University of New Orleans

External Review Board

The External Review Board is a group of independent scientists and engineers convened to provide technical feedback on the Research Strategy and to serve as a panel for proposal review. 


The Technical Working Group is composed of subject matter expects and works with Center staff to develop the Research Strategy.