Gov. John Bel Edwards has named civil engineer Michael Ellis the new executive director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the agency in charge of the state’s Coastal Master Plan.

He replaces Kyle Graham, a wetland biologist who directed the coastal effort most of the past four years. Edwards did not reappoint him.

As executive director of the agency Ellis, 49, will direct the day-to-day operations of the research and engineering teams developing projects for the state’s 50-year effort it hopes can prevent much of the coastal zone from sinking into the rising Gulf of Mexico by the end of the century.

Ellis will report to Johnny Bradberry, Edwards’ Executive Assistant on Coastal Activities. Bradberry serves as the governor’s policy advisory and chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board, which must approve actions recommended by the agency.

Ellis, who was not immediately available for interviews, comes to the agency from his post as Louisiana Manager for HDR Engineering. While at HDR, Ellis primarily focused on coastal sustainability projects and municipal water and wastewater projects, according to a state news release.

This included “managing large scale civil engineering and construction projects, Louisiana coastal restoration, and US Army Corps of Engineers remediation projects.”

He has a bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering and international trade and finance, both from Louisiana State University.

Bob Marshall

From 2013 to 2017, Bob Marshall covered environmental issues for The Lens, with a special focus on coastal restoration and wetlands. While at The Times-Picayune, his work chronicling the people, stories...