EP021:
Historic Mississippi River Outlets and Future Sediment Diversion Operations: The Keys to Sustaining Louisiana's Coast





Session ID#: 29447

Session Description:
Louisiana has lost a third of it coastal wetlands and may lose another third in the next 50 years. A key to maintaining some level of coastal zone is likely dependent on reconnection of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers to their deltaic plains with new river outlets, such as sediment diversions as proposed in Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan. Artificial river levees generally preclude natural overbank flow to the river’s deltaic plain except for approximately 15 outlets, a.k.a. “legacy diversions.” The “legacy diversions”, which vary in size, location, and flow regime, provide experimental flows that may provide critical information for building large, new, engineered diversions for coastal restoration. Proposed sediment diversions are an engineering solution that return some areas into a manmade replication of a natural state by delivering river water, sediment and nutrients to degraded wetlands, mimicking the natural flood cycle of the Mississippi River and building/sustaining land. The benefit of a controlled sediment diversion is that it can be opened and closed based on riverine and basin conditions. Therefore, operational strategies become the most important component of predicting how the geological, ecological and social landscape will change, facilitating adaptive management so that operational strategies can be optimized in response to on-the-ground conditions. Past legacy diversion and modeling of new sediment diversion are the basis to optimize performance.
Primary Convener:  John A. Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF), Coastal Sustainability Program, New Orleans, LA, United States
Conveners:  Natalie Peyronnin, Environmental Defense Fund DC, Washington, DC, United States, Ehab A Meselhe, Water Institute of the Gulf, Baton Rouge, LA, United States and Alisha Anne Renfro, National Wildlife Federation Reston, Reston, VA, United States

Cross-Listed:
  • OS - Ocean Sciences
  • OS - Ocean Sciences
  • SI - Societal Impacts and Policy Sciences
Index Terms:

0442 Estuarine and nearshore processes [BIOGEOSCIENCES]
0442 Estuarine and nearshore processes [BIOGEOSCIENCES]
0442 Estuarine and nearshore processes [BIOGEOSCIENCES]
0481 Restoration [BIOGEOSCIENCES]
0481 Restoration [BIOGEOSCIENCES]
0481 Restoration [BIOGEOSCIENCES]
0497 Wetlands [BIOGEOSCIENCES]
0497 Wetlands [BIOGEOSCIENCES]
1813 Eco-hydrology [HYDROLOGY]
1813 Eco-hydrology [HYDROLOGY]
1813 Eco-hydrology [HYDROLOGY]
6620 Science policy [PUBLIC ISSUES]
6620 Science policy [PUBLIC ISSUES]
6620 Science policy [PUBLIC ISSUES]

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