Our People

Bryan P. Piazza

Director, Freshwater and Marine Science, The Nature Conservancy, Louisiana


Bryan P. Piazza director, freshwater and marine science, Louisiana © Bryan Piazza.


Environmental Decision Making, Resource Management, Freshwater and Marine Science


Matt Miller
ph. 208-350-2203


Dr. Bryan Piazza, director of freshwater and marine science for The Nature Conservancy in Louisiana, provides scientific support and strategic guidance for freshwater and coastal conservation and restoration projects in Louisiana, the Gulf of Mexico coast and the Mississippi River basin. He has published on a number of conservation and restoration topics and is the author of a book titled The Atchafalaya River Basin – History and Ecology of an American Wetland.

A frequent speaker before scientific and non-technical audiences, Bryan has spoken before audiences of various sizes across the world on issues ranging from ecological restoration to water management. He is experienced delivering and moderating plenaries, lectures, and panel discussions and has also delivered print, radio, and video media interviews. Bryan is a past Fellow of the Loyola University Institute for Environmental Communication. As a current member of The Nature Conservancy’s Science Impact Project, he has been trained in the Alda Center Method of science communication as well as the delivery of effective presentations, media interviews, and talks in the style of TED conferences.

Bryan’s current projects include 1) the Atchafalaya River Basin Initiative – conservation and restoration of America’s largest river swamp; 2) development and expansion of The Freshwater Network – an online decision support network for freshwater resources; 3) developing innovative ways to deliver technical information into statewide water policy development in Louisiana; 4) applying environmental and social science to improve conservation, restoration, and management of oyster habitat across the northern Gulf of Mexico; 5) understanding the role of habitat and hydrologic restoration in nutrient cycling; and 6) using market-based approaches to incentivize conservation. He also currently serves as the science and science communication team leader for TNC’s America’s Great River Project and worked on the development of Gulf of Mexico Resilience Decision Support Tool.

Bryan also mentors undergraduate and graduate students across a range of disciplines – all aimed at developing cutting-edge science and educating future leaders. He leads the TNC-Louisiana Conservation Fellows Program and serves as adjunct assistant professor at Louisiana State University, where he also teaches a course on environmental decision making, Nicholls State University, and Southern Illinois University.

Prior to joining TNC, Bryan applied research in aquatic systems across the Louisiana coast, particularly focused on the effects of re-connecting the Mississippi River to its coastal wetlands and restoring oyster reefs. He has developed ecological metrics to measure restoration success and has experience developing coastal policy, managing habitat restoration projects, developing monitoring protocols, and installing scientific monitoring instrumentation. 

Bryan has a B.S. in Wildlife Management and Biology from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, an M.S. in Wildlife Science from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in Oceanography and Coastal Science from Louisiana State University. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with his wife and two gregarious sons.

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Piazza, B.P. 2014. The Atchafalaya River Basin: History and Ecology of an American Wetland. Texas A&M University Press, College Station Texas.

Scientific Papers:

Johnson, K.A., B.P. Piazza, J.D. Fore, M. Motew, and E. Yacobsen. 2018. Prioritizing floodplains to restore the health of the Mississippi River Basin. Solutions Vol. 9, Issue 3 (http://bit.ly/Solutions_Floodplains).

Kozak, J.P., M.G. Bennett, B.P. Piazza, and J.F. Remo. 2016. Towards dynamic flow regime management for floodplain restoration in the Atchafalaya River Basin, Louisiana. Environmental Science and Policy 64: 118-128.

Piazza, B.P., Y.C. Allen, R. Martin, J.F. Bergan, K. King, and R. Jacob. 2015. Floodplain Conservation in the Mississippi River Valley – Combining spatial analysis, landowner outreach, and market assessment to enhance land protection for the Atchafalaya River Basin, Louisiana, USA. Restoration Ecology 23: 65-74

Kozak, J. and B.P. Piazza. 2015. A proposed Structured Decision Making process for the Atchafalaya River Basin, Louisiana, USA. Restoration Ecology 23: 46-52.

La Peyre, M.K., J. Furlong, L.A. Brown, B.P. Piazza, and K. Brown. 2014. Oyster reef restoration in the northern Gulf of Mexico: extent, methods and outcomes. Ocean and Coastal Management, 89: 20-28.

Rice, C.L., D.S. Weber, C.S. Haase, and B.P. Piazza. 2014. Water quality monitoring station design for remote sites experiencing extreme water level fluctuation. River Research and Applications, DOI: 10.1002/rra.2729.

Piazza, B.P. and M.K. La Peyre. 2012. Measuring changes in consumer resource availability to riverine pulsing in Breton Sound, Louisiana, USA. PLoS ONE 7(5): e37536. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037536. www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0037536.

La Peyre, M.K., A. Nix, L. Laborde, and B.P. Piazza. 2012. Gauging state-level and user group views of oyster reef restoration activities in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Ocean and Coastal Management, 67: 1-8.

Piazza, B.P. and M.K. La Peyre. 2011. Nekton community response to a large-scale Mississippi River discharge: examining spatial and temporal response to river management. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 91: 379-387.

Piazza, B.P. and M.K. La Peyre. 2010. Using Gambusia affinis growth rates to assess estuarine habitat quality: a comparison of indices. Marine Ecology Progress Series 412: 231-245.

Piazza, B.P., M.K. La Peyre, and B.D. Keim. 2010. Relating large-scale climate variability to local species abundance: ENSO forcing and shrimp in Breton Sound, Louisiana, USA. Climate Research, 42: 195-207.

Piazza, B.P. and M.K. La Peyre. 2009. The effect of Hurricane Katrina on nekton communities in the tidal freshwater marshes of Breton Sound Louisiana, USA. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 83:97-104.

Piazza, B.P., M.H. Piehler, B. Gossman, M.K. La Peyre, and J. La Peyre. 2009. Oyster recruitment and growth on an artificial reef structure in Grand Isle, LA, Bulletin of Marine Science 84:59-66.

La Peyre, M.K., B.P. Gossman, and B.P. Piazza. 2009. Short- and long-term response of deteriorating brackish marshes and open-water ponds to sediment enhancement

by thin-layer dredge disposal. Estuaries and Coasts 32:390–402.

Piazza, B.P. and M.K. La Peyre. 2007. Restoration of the annual flood pulse in Breton Sound, Louisiana, USA: habitat change and nekton community response. Aquatic Biology 1: 109-119.

Piazza, B.P., P.D. Banks and M.K. La Peyre. 2005.  The potential for created oyster shell reefs as a sustainable shoreline protection strategy in Louisiana. Restoration Ecology 13(3):499-506.

Piazza, B.P. and V.L. Wright. 2004. Within-season nest persistence in large wading bird rookeries. Waterbirds 27(3): 367-372.

Piazza, B. P. 2004. Notes on nesting in the Bronzy Jacamar (Galbula leucogastra) in Peru. Cotinga 21: 68.