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ByWater Institute

The ByWater Institute at Tulane University offers state-of-the-art research, education and outreach facilities.

The ByWater Institute exemplifies the interdisciplinary ethos of the university. By supporting applied research and outreach, the center will help strengthen capacity to restore and protect the coast.

As a cornerstone of the university’s Riverfront Initiative, the ByWater Institute's Tulane River and Coastal Center will further accelerate the city’s transformation into a world-renowned hub for innovation. The center is being developed in phases, with the first phase including new laboratory, educational, and conference facilities, along with staging areas for field operations. In the long term, the goal is to redevelop the entire wharf into a riverfront promenade alongside a research and education district that dovetails with the Morial Convention center as well as nearby residential, commercial and retail development.

Cover of Rising by Elizabeth Rush
Rising Event

November 7th, 6:00-7:30pm Tulane River and Coastal Center - 1370 Port of New Orleans Place

Elizabeth Rush, author of the new book Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore will visit Tulane for the inaugural event in the ByWater Institute's speaker series Future Cities // Future Coasts. The public event will be held on November 7th at the Tulane River and Coastal Center overlooking the Mississippi River. This event is in collaboration with the Resilience Lab, a partnership between Tulane and the Water Institute of the Gulf, and undertaken with support from the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

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Tulane Climate Action Day, Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 9 am to 6 pm, Kendall Cram Room, LBC
Climate Action Day

What can we do about climate change? Join a university-wide discussion. Come for one session or stay the whole day. Click through for the schedule. 

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Aerial Photo of New Orleans and the Tulane River and Coastal Center
Faculty Fellowships in Interdisciplinary Collaboration

The ByWater Institute is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity to support interdisciplinary faculty collaboration. We seek to fund the development of proposals for extramural funding by teams of faculty at Tulane. Applicants are challenged to propose or complete new and innovative interdisciplinary projects addressing a set of research questions or lines of inquiry that speak to the pressing challenges facing humanity on a rapidly urbanizing, rapidly changing planet. Proposals that address these challenges in South Louisiana are encouraged, but a wide range of geographic situations or contexts are welcomed.  

Please click the link to download the request for proposals. The deadline for first consideration is January 31, 2018, but we will accept proposals on a rolling basis thereafter as long as funding remains available.

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Contrast between overgrown lots near urban garden plots and manicured lawns
Lewis Ecosphere

ByWater Institute Research Assistant Professor Joshua Lewis is the lead author on a new study in the journal Ecosphere. In a study of plant life across New Orleans, the researchers found that demographic factors of wealth, race, housing recovery, and land abandonment were better predictors of vegetation patterns than the degree of intensity of flooding and wind during the 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

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Our Mission

The Tulane ByWater Institute advances applied, interdisciplinary research and community engagement initiatives around coastal resilience and the urban environment.

Our Work

Tulane University is not just located in New Orleans, it is part of New Orleans and the coastal land and waterscapes that surround it. At Tulane, our research on resilience and sustainability is key to our academic pursuits and essential to our educational and civic missions. Planning for greater resilience and adaptability has taken on a sense of urgency in New Orleans and other coastal communities in the face of climate change, sea level rise and evolving natural and technological hazards. Implementing those plans is now more important and more challenging than ever. With our future at stake, success cannot be left to chance.  The ByWater Institute was founded to respond to these grand challenges by developing use-inspired research and unique programming at the intersection of environment, society, and community.


Untraditional by design, the ByWater Institute encourages interdisciplinary and cross-community communication and collaboration.  The Institute’s staff and affiliates seek to answer critical questions facing New Orleans and coastal Louisiana, while keeping the important global implications of these challenges in view. This work is anchored at two unique facilities: The Tulane River and Coastal Center and A Studio in the Woods. Both of these spaces facilitate innovative thinking and purposeful conversations that can open new pathways for navigating and responding to these changes in creative ways.


To carry out its mission, the ByWater Institute draws from Tulane’s broad strengths in many fields including:

  • Science and Engineering

  • Public Health

  • Law and Policy

  • Environmental Studies

  • Energy and Business

  • Emergency Preparedness

  • Architecture

  • Liberal Arts

As extensive as our strengths are, no university has the resources—or the flexibility-- to take on these resilience and adaptation challenges alone. Communities and ecosystems are complex and dynamic, and so is the future they are facing.  By working with and within a network of community, civic, governmental and academic partners, the ByWater Institute is determined to do the work that matters, in time for it to matter.



Administrative Offices: 627 Lindy Boggs Center, Tulane University Uptown Campus
Our offices, centrally located on Tulane’s Uptown Campus offer a convenient meeting space and access to campus services.


Tulane River and Coastal Center: 1370 Port of New Orleans Place, Downtown New Orleans
The TRCC opened in 2016 and features laboratory, office and public meeting space with views of the Mississippi River. The building is managed by the ByWater Institute, but scholars from the Department of River-Coastal Science and Engineering and The Water Institute of the Gulf use the facilities on a daily basis. The meeting space can be used by any organization for programming relevant to the TRCC mission.


A Studio in the Woods and the ByWater Biological Field Station at Carmichael Forest: 13401 Patterson Road, Westbank New Orleans
The Studio is nestled in Carmichael Forest, eight acres of bottomland hardwood forest on the Mississippi River. The compound consists of three public buildings with private work/studio space and a shared living space in the Studio’s Main House. The primary purpose of the Studio is to serve artists and scholars in residence, but it is available for daily meeting rentals and we frequently open our doors for public programming. The ByWater Biological Field Station uses the carefully stewarded Forest for research and education.

ByWater Institute Programs and Projects

  • A Studio in the Woods Arts, Environmental and Scholarly Residencies

  • A Studio in the Woods Field Station

  • The New Orleans CNH Program

  • New Orleans Urban Forest Observatory

  • Infrastructure & Ecology Laboratory

  • Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities

  • Interdisciplinary and community engagement oral history project

  • Supporting the Isle de Jean Charles Community Resettlement Through Cross-Boundary Networks and Knowledge Synthesis

  • The ByWater Institute Faculty Fellowship Program

  • Mississippi River Observatory Project

Administration and Faculty
Director, Mark Davis
Assistant Director, Shelley Meaux
Research Associate Professor, Amy Lesen
Research Assistant Professor, Joshua Lewis
Managing Director, A Studio in the Woods, Ama Rogan
Senior Program Coordinator, A Studio in the Woods, Cammie Hill-Prewitt
Program Coordinator, A Studio in the Woods, Grace Rennie
Environmental Curator, ByWater Biological Field Station at Carmichael Forest and A Studio in the Woods, David Baker
Research Professor, Michael Blum
Postdoctoral Fellow, Kristine Moody 

Affiliated Programs
Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy
Tulane Department of River-Coastal Science and Engineering 



The Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design at Tulane University
Argonne National Laboratory
Arts Council New Orleans
City Culture and Community
City of New Orleans Office of Resilience and Sustainability
Global Rivers Observatory
Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy
Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians
Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development
Lowlander Center
The Meraux Foundation
New Harmony High
New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University
New Orleans Mosquito, Termite, and Rodent Control Board
Newcomb Art Museum
New Orleans Redevelopment Authority
Pelican Bomb
Port of New Orleans
Prospect New Orleans
Resilience Alliance
Stockholm Resilience Centre
Swedish Royal Institute of Technology
Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design
Tulane Energy Institute
Tulane University Environmental Studies Program
United States Forest Service
The Water Institute of the Gulf
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Xavier University of Louisiana