June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Ocean and Marine
11.60.1 - 11.60.11
A Lesson from Hurricane Katrina: Meeting the Need for Coastal Engineering Education and Research in the Gulf Coast Region
One of the important lessons from Hurricane Katrina (2005) is the pressing need for coastal engineering research and education along the Gulf Coast. There are 21 universities offering graduate programs in coastal engineering nationwide. However, most of the coastal engineering programs are located on the East and West Coasts. In fact, from the Florida Panhandle to the Louisiana-Texas boarder, there are no graduate programs in coastal engineering on the central Gulf Coast. The inadequate coastal engineering research and education in the Gulf Coast region are reflected in the failures of civil engineering infrastructure and buildings seen in the Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath. We use the collapse of coastal bridges during Hurricane Katrina as an example to demonstrate the need for and importance of coastal engineering research and education in hurricane-prone areas. An examination of the engineering practice in the transportation engineering community has indicated transportation engineers often rely on coastal engineers to assist their design and construction of coastal highways because of the uniqueness of the coastal wave and water level environments. The absence of coastal engineering education programs in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama has limited access to the coastal engineering knowledge and expertise needed by the transportation engineering community in the three states. Meeting education and research needs in coastal engineering along the Gulf Coast is essential to the recovery and rebuilding the region devastated by recent hurricanes.
Hurricane Katrina (2005) made landfall on the north coast of the Gulf of Mexico as a catastrophic storm. It devastated New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as the Mississippi and Alabama coasts, and its ripple effects impacted the entire nation. Hurricane Katrina is one of the deadliest and costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. The 30 ft water surge generated by Katrina at landfall on the north Gulf Coast is the highest storm surge ever recorded in the United States  .
Among the important lessons form Hurricane Katrina is the need for coastal engineering research and education along the Gulf Coast. Consistent with the survey conducted by the National Research Council in the late 1990s [ 2] , there are 21 institutions offering graduate programs in coastal engineering nationwide. However, most of the coastal engineering programs are located on the East and West Coasts. In fact, from the Florida Panhandle to the Louisiana-Texas boarder, there are no graduate programs in coastal engineering in the central Gulf Coast. Although there
Chen, Q. (2006, June), A Lesson From Hurricane Katrina: Meeting The Need For Coastal Engineering In The Gulf Coast Region Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--852
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