Class Information

We meet Tuesday, 1:50 – 3:50 in room 108. There is no assignment text. Assignments and materials will be posted on this class blog. In addition to the seminar paper, there will be an end of term presentation of your research and findings and progress report presentations during the semester. Be prepared to use Powerpoint and/or other presentation materials and to prepare a short report to be shared before class on when you are scheduled to present.

The Seminar Problem for this Semester

The intent of the seminar is to explore a real-world administrative and environmental law issue. Everyone in the class should have taken either or both administrative law and environmental law, so you should be ready to start work. We are going to look at the legal, scientific, and policy issues presented by flooding such as the 2016 Baton Rouge flood, the floods in Houston, and other extreme rainfall event floods. As we will learn, the damage from these floods is driven by bad land-use decisions about existing flood risks, and an increased risk of flooding secondary to climate change. We are going to look at issues in existing developments, proposed new development, and adaptation strategies, including retreat from sea level drive coastal flooding.

Guide to writing your paper

Seminar Topics – Working List

Material for Class

Pearls before Swine

From today’s Advocate: FEMA audits raise red flags over 2016 flood recovery, but NFIP won’t be reduced, officials say

The 2016 Louisiana Flood: A Failure of Risk Perception. Tulane Environmental Summit, New Orleans, 11 March 2017.

The Role of New Towns in Louisiana Coastal Retreat – Tulane Environmental Summit, March 2019

The 2016 Louisiana Flood

Scan through these to get a sense of the issues in the 2016 flood.

From my blog

Terrell, Dek. The economic impact of the August 2016 floods on the State of Louisiana. Lewis Terrell and Associates, LLC, 2018.

Increasing state-wide attention on managing rainfall flood risk at basin (watershed) jurisdictions (see Council on Watershed Management Presentation.

Rainfall intensity in Louisiana appears to be increasing with climate change:  Climatology and Trends in Hourly Precipitation for the Southeast United States  (Brown, Keim, & Black)

NOAA dramatically revised coastal Texas rainfall frequency estimates last year (NOAA updates Texas rainfall frequency values).  Estimates for Houston for a 24-hr accumulation with a 100-yr average return increased by about 5 inches (13 to 18 inches).  Some accumulations previously classified as 100-yr events are now considered 25-yr events!

NOAA’s current rainfall frequency estimates for Louisiana (see chart below) are not consistent with findings of increasing intensity and the Texas revisions and are grossly outdated.

NOAA Rainfall Baton Rouge Airport

NOAA Rainfall Baton Rouge Airport

New Development in Baton Rouge


Controversial subdivision planned for old Sherwood Forest golf course

Multiple residential developments heading to Planning Commission 

New Towns and Retreat

The New Yorker: Life in Miami on the Knife’s Edge of Climate Change

Florida wants to buy Irma-flooded homes. Is it the start of a retreat from sea rise?

International New Town Institute

Brief report on New Towns