Coastal Groups Mourn the Loss of Pioneering Scientist Dr. Sherwood “Woody” Gagliano

07.20.2020 | In Coastal Restoration

The renowned scientist was one of the first to document and alert the world to Louisiana’s coastal land loss crisis

Last week, Louisiana’s science and coastal communities lost a great mind and advocate in the fight to address the state’s coastal land loss crisis. Dr. Sherwood “Woody” Gagliano was one of the first Louisiana State University scientists to document that the state was experiencing a net wetland loss at a time when many assumed the coast was gaining land. His research furthered our understanding of the delta cycle, playing a significant role in the state’s effort to understand and address the forces of subsidence and erosion. 

Dr. Sherwood “Woody” Gagliano speaks as part of the Month on the Coast Speaker Series. Photo Courtesy of Martin McCallister

Restore the Mississippi River Delta – a coalition of national and local conservation organizations working to restore Louisiana’s coast including Environmental Defense Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Pontchartrain Conservancy – issued the following statement in response:

“We note with sadness the passing of Dr. Sherwood “Woody” Gagliano. He sounded the call that awoke Louisiana and the nation to the disappearance of one of its most precious assets, the Louisiana coast.

“Not only was Woody a first-generation expert on the state’s coastal issues, he was also a passionate and effective advocate for addressing the problem. Woody contributed to every major coastal planning process in Louisiana and was the first to recommend the large-scale reconnection of wetlands to the Mississippi River to offset land loss.

“In no small measure, Louisiana’s leadership position in the world in combating wetland loss and the effects of climate change on coastal communities, is the legacy of his patient and science-based tutelage of a generation of researchers and policymakers.

“Louisiana is in a much better place because of the knowledge, passion and dedication of Dr. Woody Gagliano. His legacy should inspire us all to continue to build on the solid foundation he has left us. We mourn his loss, celebrate his life and send our deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers to his family, friends, colleagues and all those he touched in life.”


About Restore the Mississippi River Delta:

Restore the Mississippi River Delta is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Pontchartrain Conservancy, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.