Clough Named Committee Chair

The National Academies/National Research Council Committee will review engineering and policy issues surrounding New Orleans

President Wayne Clough has been named chair of the National Academies/National Research Council committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects. The committee is being charged with overseeing studies into why the levee failures occurred when Hurricane Katrina struck the city last year and reviewing the designs and plans for rebuilding the flood protection systems around New Orleans.

"It is an honor to be asked to serve as chair of the committee and a role that I'm pleased to undertake for several reasons," said Clough, whose first job out of Georgia Tech was working on flood protection issues for the Mississippi River Basin with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "I know the history of these projects and relate closely to their importance to the people living there."

Under Clough's leadership last fall, Georgia Tech stepped up to help with evacuees and students who were displaced by the hurricane. The Institute opened its doors to campus buildings to be used as shelter space, and the Tech community volunteered to help in a variety of other ways.

"It is now time for Georgia Tech to do what we can with our special expertise to help in the very large effort to rebuild," said Clough. "As president I hope to represent Georgia Tech and its commitment to work on these issues until they are resolved."

Clough said the Corps will continue its work to repair the damaged areas because of the urgency of the upcoming hurricane season. This work will initiate improvements to the levees that will over time enhance the level of protection they can provide. Clough believes that if the levee system is to be taken to a Category 5 hurricane level, it will take an innovative approach and will require an extended period of time to accomplish.

The committee will review several engineering issues and policy questions with the goal of having some definitive results by June 1, the official beginning of the next hurricane season. The committee will issue interim reports as its work develops.

"The NAE/NRC has assembled an outstanding group of experts on a range of fields that bear on our work," said Clough. "I am certain we have the right group to tackle this very tough assignment."