Louisiana’s crisis requires action now, so we assembled a highly skilled team to develop a rigorous and forward thinking plan. The primary data gathering and decision making was done by those who know the coast firsthand – over 80 Louisiana based experts made up the planning team that helped the state develop the master plan. In addition, the Framework Development Team and Focus Groups were also made up of south Louisiana citizens; people whose jobs focus on sustaining our working coast. When we set out to develop the master plan, we used an “all hands on deck” approach. If an idea that had been tried elsewhere in the country or the world could help us here, we wanted to know about it. We tasked some of the best scientists in the world to provide this kind of information to us through the ten-member Science and Engineering Board.
Of course, there is another source of expertise that has been essential to our work: the thousands of south Louisiana citizens who know the coast from the inside out. We have been actively drawing upon this valuable resource; over the last year we held ten community meetings and three public hearings attended by 1,350 people, and delivered an additional 116 presentations to community, civic, non-profit, and professional groups. We know that there is no substitute for local knowledge about how the coast works and learning about citizens’ ideas and concerns was a crucial part of the plan’s development.