The official website of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

Council Staff - Jean L W Cowan

Jean L W Cowan
    Ecosystem Restoration Specialist

Jean Cowan is an Ecosystem Restoration Specialist for the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.    

Prior to this position, Jean worked with the NOAA Restoration Center where she conducted ecosystem restoration planning and implementation to compensate for natural resources injured by the hazardous waste releases and oil spills. She coordinated NOAA’s participation in the Trustees’ long-term restoration, monitoring, and adaptive management plan development for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA).  The product of this work, the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan (PDARP), describes the injuries to natural resources and the restoration and monitoring required to compensate for those injuries, and served as the basis for settlement of the NRDA portion of this case. Prior to working on the NRDA, she represented NOAA on the interagency Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration President’s Task Force (GCERTF) science coordination team and the sediment management subgroup. Jean has more than 25 years of experience in coastal ecosystem research, planning, implementation and monitoring. She holds a Master of Science degree in Marine Sciences from University of South Alabama and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences from University of Virginia.

Prior to working for NOAA, Jean worked at the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR).  In that time, she served in a variety of roles within many of the major ecosystem restoration programs in the State including the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) Program and the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Plan.  She conducted restoration planning, implementation and monitoring, and managed up to 30 staff. Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Jean was a member of the State team who developed the first Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Restoration and Hurricane Protection Comprehensive Master Plan (2007).  This plan brought together the missions of two separate agencies within State government by creating a strategy to more effectively provide for the sustainability of both human communities and natural resources of coastal Louisiana, and gave rise to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA).  

Prior to her Government service, Jean worked for 15 years at several academic marine research laboratories, including Dauphin Island Sea Lab.  This work provided her a strong scientific foundation for her subsequent work in developing and implementing ecosystem restoration programs.

Major Awards and Honors
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
Best Student Presentation Awards (2)

National Association of Environmental Professionals, Presidents National Environmental Excellence Award
NOAA General Council’s Awards (2)
United States Department of Commerce Certificate of Recognition

Jean currently lives in Baton Rouge Louisiana with her husband and fur babies, and spends any spare time race walking and practicing yoga.