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Public Lecture (Port A)
Friday, January 13, 2023, 04:00pm - 05:00pm
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“Dredge or Die: a race to the bottom of the US Gulf Coast.”

By Joshua Lewis & Ben Depp

The US Gulf Coast is experiencing a dredging revolution. Shallow estuaries, lagoons, river mouths and deltas from Tampa Bay to Brownsville are being reworked to accommodate larger ships. Simultaneously, dredging is increasingly being used for coastal protection and climate adaptation projects as flooding risks take on new spatial contours and intensities. Dredging has emerged as a tool to resolve the very problems it can create. How is this wave of new dredging projects playing out in different settings across the Gulf Coast? How are scientists, policymakers, industries, and community activists informing how projects are pursued? How might we expand research into dredging to move beyond its current highly disciplinary and regulatory-centric confines? This seminar draws on examples of dredging programs in the region to begin to unpack some of these questions, and is intended to provide ample time for input from researchers on the Gulf Coast to share their own reflections on the science and politics of dredging. Accompanying Dr. Josh Lewis on this research trip is photographer Ben Depp, who takes a unique approach to aerial photography summarized in his bio. With much of their previous work based in Louisiana, the two are exploring ways to collaborate on textual and visual representations of environmental change along the Texas Coast.


Dr. Joshua Lewis is the Schwartz Professor of River and Coastal Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he also serves as the research director of the ByWater Institute. Josh has previously held positions at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. His research is focused on climate adaptation and water management on the US Gulf Coast, with a particular emphasis on infrastructure planning and the interface of maritime transportation and ecological change.

Ben Depp is a photographer and National Geographic Explorer based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Much of Ben’s work has centered around environmental issues and his environmental photography has been funded by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, the Ford Foundation, and the National Geographic Society. In 2014, Depp began making aerial images by powered paraglider, which allows for hours of exploration, a low flight path and the time-intensive search for surprising compositions. Some of his work can be found at http://www.bendepp.com/.


20230113 Public Lecture for web

Location: UT Patton Center, 855 East Cotter Ave., Port Aransas TX 78373