Dr. David Moreau, director of the Water Resources Research Institute at NC State and a professor of civil and environmental engineering, is a member of a National Academy of Engineering (NAE) panel that is peer reviewing evaluations of the failure of New Orleans levees after Hurricane Katrina. Both the federal government and the American Society of Civil Engineers are examining the performance of the levees during the storm.

In addition to reviewing the engineering analyses the two groups are putting together and making recommendations for improved hurricane protection for the future, Moreau says the NAE panel is encouraging the government to examine Katrina’s environmental impact on the region and the effect of environmental changes on the storm.

“Katrina substantially altered wetland vegetation in the area, and the loss of wetlands around New Orleans may have contributed to the storm surge that reached the levees,” Moreau says. “The Army Corps of Engineers has argued that wetland loss had little effect on storm surge, but that argument should be subjected to peer review.”

For more information, please visit www.ncsu.edu/wrri/