Nicholls State University and the Port of South Louisiana partner to aid the study of coastal restoration

From left, students Sarah Fontana and April Simmons, Executive Director of the Port of South Louisiana, Paul Aucoin; Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune; Professor of Biological Sciences Dr. Allyse Ferrara; students Keith Chenier and Rissa Insleman. (Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

Nicholls State University and the Port of South Louisiana announced a partnership to aid the study of coastal restoration.

Through the cooperative endeavor agreement, the Port will allocate $18,000 for research, training and coastal restoration projects at the Nicholls Farm. This is the fourth year in a row the Port has worked with Nicholls to support restoration efforts.

“It’s important for everyone to get involved in coastal protection and coastal restoration,” says Paul Aucoin, executive director of the Port. “Our future depends on it, and this contribution is our small way of contributing to that effort.”

The 277-acre farm is three miles south of Nicholls’ campus. The property serves as an environmental research and education center for Nicholls and other partners. Housed at the farm are labs, classrooms, greenhouses, shade houses, storage barns and a 7.5-acre pond for wetland plant production.

Nicholls biology students and faculty have spearheaded coastal restoration efforts through the Farm. They have grown, harvested and planted over 30,000 plants in coastal habitats in recent years.

“This gives us a lot of flexibility to do what we need and be able to respond to the needs of the community,” said Dr. Allyse Ferrara, Jerry Ledet Endowed Professor of Environmental Biology. “We greatly appreciate the support from the Port of South Louisiana.”

As America’s largest tonnage Port district, the Port of South Louisiana is the premier sea gateway for U.S. export and import traffic. Headquartered in LaPlace, the Port stretches 54 miles along the Mississippi River. The stretch of river accounts for 53 industries and 30,000 jobs.

“If we don’t do this, we will lose our coast. We will lose Thibodaux. We will lose Louisiana,” Aucoin said. “We are not in the business of coastal restoration. So we help by contributing to programs like Nicholls State University that are.”

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