MUSIC-researcher Tijs van Maasakkers receives grant from the National Audubon Society
to develop negotiation exercise for the Atchafalaya Basin
After PhD-candidate and MUSIC researcher Tijs van Maasakkers completed his Master’s thesis on the environmental restoration of the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana, he was asked by a coalition of environmental non-profits, led by the Audubon Society, to develop a negotiation simulation This exercise will be used during a public event, led by Prof. Larry Susskind, in the fall of 2010 that will bring together the stakeholders in the Basin in a collaborative way to discuss and engage the various challenges that accompany the restoration projects. The Atchafalaya Basin is the largest contiguous cypress-tupelo swamp in the United States, and an important distributary of the Mississippi River. After the completion of the Old River Control Structure in 1973, changes in the flow of the Atchafalaya River led to significant disruptions of the environmental processes in the Basin, which in turn led to conflicts over how to manage and restore the wetlands. These conflicts have been ongoing since the 1980-ies, and after hurricanes Katrina and Rita the importance of coastal wetlands has reemerged to the top of the political agenda. As a sediment-carrying river, the Atchafalaya plays a key role in wetland creation in the Gulf of Mexico. The wide variety of interests around the Basin has complicated effective decision-making and planning for the last three decades.