Kar, D.; Rhode, R.; Snider, N.P., and Robichaux, E., 2020. Measuring success through outcome indicators for restoration efforts in Louisiana. In: Malvárez, G. and Navas, F. (eds.), Global Coastal Issues of 2020. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 95, pp. 1128–1133. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
Louisiana is at the forefront of confronting multi-faceted challenges due to coastal land-loss and climate change. These challenges include loss of culture and economy for humans as well as loss of ecosystem functions and habitats for the socio-ecological system. To best mitigate and adapt to these challenges in the near-term, the Restore the Mississippi River Delta (MRD) -- a consortium of five nonprofit organizations with a shared goal of restoration of coastal Louisiana -- identified 17 projects from Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast (2017 Coastal Master Plan or CMP) through a streamlined prioritization process. Prioritization of these projects were based on criteria including the project's scale and synergies, enhancement of ecosystem services, contributions to species diversity and abundance, resilience to coastal flooding, sustainability, and feasibility of implementation. To gauge the progress in the implementation of chosen projects, outcome indicators were developed for coastal restoration via scientific research, expert opinion, and defensible assumptions. A detailed methodology was formulated where up-to-date information for each project was collected, converted into measurable scores calculated annually through a comprehensive evaluation-tracking tool. The criteria for “success” of each project was based on actual scores meeting the target scores (calculated from projection of the project's annual progress during the project's life cycle). Scoring methods were analyzed and reported yearly on and improvements and strategies formulated for underperforming projects.