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  • Mississippi River’s High Water Brings (Literally) Tons of Needed Sediment to Louisiana | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife Mississippi River s High Water Brings Literally Tons of Needed Sediment to Louisiana January 20 2016 Posted by jhebert in 2011 Mississippi River Flood Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA coastal restoration Diversions Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion Science By Alisha Renfro Staff Scientist Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition National Wildlife Federation This is the second in a series of blog posts focusing on the recent opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway in response to the Mississippi River high water event See the first post on the history of the Mississippi River and Tributaries MR T system here The current high water event on the Mississippi River is sending more than one million cubic feet of water per second down the lower Mississippi River carrying with it sediment that is an essential ingredient to restoring Louisiana s wetlands The unfortunate irony is that a great deal of this sediment is passing right through Louisiana and off the outer continental shelf beyond where it can be of any immediate restorative benefit to the state s vanishing wetlands Historically flood events like this helped to build and maintain the once vast wetlands of the Mississippi River Delta Today without sediment diversion projects in place much of that turbid brown water completely bypasses our sediment starved wetlands and is lost Once in place sediment diversions integrated with the flood protection system will capture this opportunity and put the river back to work rebuilding our wetlands On average the Mississippi River carries about 2 5 tons of sediment per second past the Belle Chasse river gage south of New Orleans However during high discharge events sediment load in the river can increase considerably When river discharge reaches one million cubic feet per second roughly 6

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2016/01/20/mississippi-rivers-high-water-brings-literally-tons-of-needed-sediment-to-louisiana/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Mississippi River Flood | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Alisha Renfro Staff Scientist Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition National Wildlife Federation MODIS Satellite Image from January 4 2016 https www esl lsu edu imagery MODIS 2016 01 4 As the Mississippi River high water event continues the U S Army Corps of Engineers will soon open the Bonnet Carré Spillway and potentially the Morganza Floodway to help relieve pressure on river levees and prevent catastrophic flooding During high water events like this one the river contains more water and carries more sediment than usual Without restoration projects like sediment diversions in place to capture sediment much of this essential component for restoring our coast is lost In the future when sediment diversions are in place we ll be able to utilize the increase in sediment carried by the river during high water events and capture it for coastal restoration This blog is the first in a series that examine management of the Mississippi River for flood protection and the opportunities that exist to do so for coastal restoration Unusually heavy winter rainfall throughout much of the Mississippi River s drainage basin has led to early flood conditions on the Mississippi River Deaths of at least 29 people and loss of property in Illinois Missouri Arkansas and Oklahoma are a stark reminder of how dangerous floods can be Observed Precipitation between December 7 2015 and January 6 2016 http water weather gov precip index php On the lower Mississippi River the Mississippi River and Tributaries MR T project uses levees and floodways among other measures to manage river floods like the one happening now to protect people and property Prior to the disastrous 1927 flood attempts to prevent flooding along the lower Mississippi River relied on levees along the river built to withstand the previous flood of record The MR T project authorized through the Flood Control Act of 1928 is a more comprehensive U S Army Corps of Engineers flood control program It relies on levees along the river to control flood flows floodways to lessen pressure on critical points in the river levee system improvements and stabilization of the river channel for navigation and improvements to major tributary drainage basins such as dams and reservoirs Combined the features of the MR T system are designed to handle the largest flood that is reasonably expected to occur known as project flood i ii In Louisiana river floods rely on protection provided by levees along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers the Old River Control Complex the Bonnet Carré Spillway and the Morganza and West Atchafalaya Floodways The Old River Control Complex is designed to send 30 percent of the combined flow of the Mississippi and Red Rivers down the Atchafalaya River and the remaining 70 percent of the flow down the main stem of the Mississippi River During this current river flood the U S Army of Engineers began operating the Old River Overbank Structure on December 30 to reduce the risk of damage to Old River Control Complex

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2016/01/08/heavy-rainfall-activates-early-flood-fight-on-lower-mississippi-river/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Rebuilding coastal Louisiana, using the power of the Mississippi | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    River Flood 2012 Coastal Master Plan Birds Diversions Mardi Gras Pass Restoration Projects Science This was originally posted by Environmental Defense Fund on EDF Voices By Estelle Robichaux Restoration Project Analyst Environmental Defense Fund Soon after my flyover of the Mississippi River Delta I joined Dr John Lopez of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation LPBF on a boat ride down the Bohemia Spillway to Mardi Gras Pass As we sped down the spillway canal beautiful swamp lilies and purple morning glories popped out against a backdrop of lush green plants Once we reached our destination we saw an incredible number of birds Laughing Gulls Snowy Egrets Great Blue and Tricolored Herons just to name a few This along with an increase in the number of river otters and beavers observed is a good indicator that there are healthy fish populations in the area Thirty five miles southeast of New Orleans Mardi Gras Pass is the Mississippi River s newest and naturally evolving distributary a channel of water that flows away from the main branch of the river This new distributary began forming during the spring flood of 2011 when the water level of the Mississippi River was so high that it flowed over the natural levee in this area When the floodwaters receded Dr Lopez and his team of scientists noticed two breaches in the embankment These breaches continued to widen and deepen and soon right around Mardi Gras Day 2012 the breach was complete The Mississippi River was once again connected to the surrounding wetlands allowing freshwater and land building sediment back into the area Losing Louisiana Louisiana has lost 25 of its coastal land area since 1930 and continues to lose land at an alarming rate one football field every hour on average Man made levees along the Mississippi River cut off many small distributaries like Mardi Gras Pass from the wetlands in the floodplain of the river and have contributed to this massive wetland loss Our team here at EDF works with partner organizations including the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation as part of the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Coalition which has a vision of reconnecting the Mississippi River to its delta to help protect people wildlife and jobs in coastal Louisiana To address the complex yet urgent need for coastal restoration in Louisiana the state legislature unanimously passed the 2012 Coastal Master Plan This plan is a long term science based restoration program that includes nearly 250 restoration projects such as barrier island restoration marsh creation establishment of oyster barrier reefs and sediment diversions that will help rebuild Louisiana s disappearing coast Restoring our coast restoring my hope One of the principal guidelines for restoration under the Coastal Master Plan is to address the root causes of land loss by using the natural power of the Mississippi River to build land at a large scale Sediment diversions a central component of the plan embody this principle because they are designed to mimic the natural stages of the

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2014/02/12/rebuilding-coastal-louisiana-using-the-natural-power-of-the-mighty-mississippi/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Study on sedimentation will help planners develop effective river diversions | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    of Louisiana In a recent study published in Nature Geoscience research led by Federico Falcini Ph D examined the link between the historic 2011 river flood and sediment accumulation in nearby wetlands Their analysis suggested that the natural dynamics of the coastal system coupled with man made alterations to the river system influenced the amount of sediment deposited in the wetlands This work shows that under river flood conditions diverting the flow of the river into shallow basins adjacent to the river could contribute significantly to sediment deposition in the wetlands and therefore contribute to wetland growth Mississippi River sediment plumes as viewed from space May 17 2011 Credit NASA Modis imagery In the study the sediment plumes of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers were tracked using satellite imagery from the 2011 flood event to understand where the sediment went once it exited these rivers The Mississippi s sediment plume exited the river in focused jets of sediment laden water due to the confinement of much of the river s flow between artificial levees This plume moved past the coastal current and into the deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico limiting the amount of sediment that could be deposited in the near shore area and adjacent wetlands In contrast the Atchafalaya s sediment plume exited the river and moved along a broad near shore area mixing with waters from the Gulf of Mexico and creating conditions that were likely to favor sediment deposition A comparison of sediment accumulation during the 2011 flood in nearby marshes shows a trend that corresponds to the difference in behavior of the two river plumes Sediment accumulation was highest at marsh sites near the Atchafalaya River which supports the idea that its sediment plume spreading out over a large area in relatively shallow water promoting increased sedimentation in the region Sediment accumulation in wetlands near the mouth of the Mississippi River was substantial but significantly lower than near the Atchafalaya While the Mississippi River carried a larger sediment load during the 2011 flood event much of the sediment was lost to the deeper waters of the gulf Louisiana s 2012 Coastal Master Plan identifies several sediment diversions that are key to restoring the important coastal Louisiana landscape The success of these diversions will depend on a variety of factors including location and operation However this new research confirms that fine sediments introduced into shallow water can substantially contribute to sediment accumulation in wetlands In order to restore the rapidly deteriorating wetlands of coastal Louisiana it is critical to reintroduce the sediment that once built this productive region Related Posts Mardi Gras Pass A new diversion on the Mississippi River springs to life Rebuilding coastal Louisiana using the natural power of the mighty Mississippi Report Reengineer Mississippi River Delta To Protect Nation s Economic Ecological Assets Mississippi River s High Water Brings Literally Tons of Needed Sediment to Louisiana 2 Responses to Study on sedimentation will help planners develop effective river diversions Cecil W Soileau

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2012/12/04/study-on-sedimentation-will-help-planners-develop-effective-river-diversions/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Big Sky View of the Big Spring Floods: 2011 Mississippi River Flood Imagery | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Ditch Mardi Gras Pass Media Resources Meetings Events Mississippi River Gulf Outlet NOAA People Faces of the Delta Profiles in Resilience Staff Profiles Tributes Voices of the Delta Reports Restoration Projects 19 Priority Projects Diversions Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion Restore the Coast Science Science and Engineering Special Team SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife Big Sky View of the Big Spring Floods 2011 Mississippi River Flood Imagery May 25 2011 Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in 2011 Mississippi River Flood Media Resources By Seyi Fayanju Environmental Defense Fund When you hear about the floodwaters coursing through the Mississippi River Valley it s hard to visualize just how much water is rushing south towards the Gulf of Mexico Now courtesy of the U S Department of Agriculture s Mississippi River Floods May 2011 Flickr site the Atlantic Magazine the U S Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District s Flood Fight 2011 Flickr site Louisiana State University s Earth Scan Laboratory and NASA s Earth Observatory to name a few you can see the power of this spring deluge Aerial view of Mississippi River flood of farms wilderness and populated areas on Thursday May 19 2011 USDA Photo by Lance Cheung These pictures reveal the wide band that the river has cut through cities and farmland north of the river delta Notice how brown the river is Like some bizarre pipeline from a Willy Wonka fantasy the river streams southward with a color that ranges from caramel to chocolate depending on your perspective That s because the water is channeling soil and sedimentary material from nearly 30 states and two Canadian provinces by the time it hits the Louisiana state line From there the Mississippi River is joined by a few more tributaries before it begins to branch out The main channel of the Mississippi usually carries most of the river water as a result of an engineering project called the Old River Control Structure However because of the heavy volume of water pushing down towards Louisiana much of the river water has been diverted into spillways This relieves pressure on levees along the main branch of the river but it leads to a dramatic increase in water and sediment flows into Lake Pontchartrain the Atachafalaya River and other basins near the modern Mississippi River delta However the most compelling visuals of the river s power are the satellite photos from NASA s MODIS satellite which reveal the extent of the sediment plumes photo below May 17 2011 Mississippi River sediment plumes as viewed from space Photo credit NASA Modis imagery This spring isn t the first time the Mississippi River has topped its banks In fact long before it was leveed off the river routinely deposited sand and fine material near its mouth as it built what we now call coastal Louisiana If we could fly back in time we would have seen the swollen river building different delta lobes over several millennia The

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2011/05/25/big-sky-view-of-the-big-spring-floods-2011-mississippi-river-flood-imagery/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Mississippi Floods Overwhelm Aging Control System | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Coastal Master Plan series Army Corps of Engineers Birds BP Oil Disaster 5 Years Later Two Years Later Climate Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA coastal restoration Community Resiliency Congress Senator David Vitter Senator Mary Landrieu Economics Job Creation Wildlife tourism Economy Federal Policy Clean Water Act Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA RESTORE Act Water Resources Development Act WRDA Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force Hunting and Fishing Hurricanes Hurricane Isaac Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Rita K10 Job openings Latest News Louisiana Coastal Area LCA Whites Ditch Mardi Gras Pass Media Resources Meetings Events Mississippi River Gulf Outlet NOAA People Faces of the Delta Profiles in Resilience Staff Profiles Tributes Voices of the Delta Reports Restoration Projects 19 Priority Projects Diversions Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion Restore the Coast Science Science and Engineering Special Team SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife Mississippi Floods Overwhelm Aging Control System May 10 2011 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2011 Mississippi River Flood Army Corps of Engineers By Paul Kemp National Audubon Society and John Day Louisiana State University Special to CNN Dr Paul Kemp Louisiana Coastal Initiative Vice President National Audubon Society credit Bruce Reid Dr John Day Distinguished Professor Coastal Ecology Institute Louisiana State University credit lsu edu CNN The U S Army Corps of Engineers on Monday opened the Bonnet Carré Spillway for the 10th time since 1932 This 7 000 foot structure of gates on the east bank of the Mississippi River 30 miles above New Orleans relieves pressure on levees protecting the city by shunting river water into nearby Lake Pontchartrain As the crest of the historic 2011 flood rolls downriver from Memphis toward an arrival in Louisiana in two weeks carrying up to 2 million cubic feet of water

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2011/05/10/mississippi-floods-overwhelm-aging-control-system/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Mardi Gras Pass: A new diversion on the Mississippi River springs to life | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Coast Science Science and Engineering Special Team SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife Mardi Gras Pass A new diversion on the Mississippi River springs to life March 21 2012 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2011 Mississippi River Flood 2012 Coastal Master Plan Army Corps of Engineers Diversions Science Videos By John Lopez Ph D Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation The Bohemia Spillway located along the east bank of the Mississippi River two miles south of Pointe a la Hache La is a rare opportunity to observe the natural processes and potential benefits of the Mississippi River flow into the Louisiana wetlands Because there is no artificial river levee to obstruct flow during high water the river has been flowing into the adjacent wetlands for 85 years In 2011 the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation LPBF conducted a hydrologic study of how much water enters the spillway and where it flows during floods It was over the course of this work that LPBF researchers made an unexpected discovery a new channel was being cut by the flowing water from the Mississippi River Feb 2012 Mardi Gras Pass as it reached the Mississippi River just prior to a complete cut into the river Credit LPBF As the 2011 flood waned we began noticing this new channel and in July the channel made a dramatic breach into the nearby roadway On Mardi Gras Day 2012 Feb 21 scientists noted that the channel had reached the bank of the Mississippi River and shortly after a complete breach into the river occurred With this milestone the channel is now an extension of the Mississippi River that helps distribute the river flow through the new distributary channel At this time the distributary flow through the newly dubbed Mardi Gras Pass is small estimated to be less than 1 of the river s peak discharge 5 000 to 10 000 cubic feet per second The channel is 30 to 40 feet wide near the river but deep enough to capture river flow continuously even under very low water This new diversion was not manmade it was the result of natural river forces seeking a shorter outlet to the sea March 2012 Mardi Gras Pass Credit LPBF It can be expected that Mardi Gras Pass will expand over time The rate of enlargement is of great interest because this process has not been observed in modern times and the concern is that the diversion may become too large However enlargement of the pass may be desirable because just one mile away the new draft Louisiana Coastal Master Plan recommends a large diversion of about 4 of the river s peak flow 50 000 cubic feet per second This new diversion is estimated to cost 220 million so LPBF is encouraging the state and Army Corps of Engineers to consider Mardi Gras Pass as an alternative since it may provide the same wetland benefits for a much smaller cost and much sooner than a constructed

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2012/03/21/mardi-gras-pass-a-new-diversion-on-the-mississippi-river-springs-to-life/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Can a 1926 spillway hold the key to restoring Louisiana’s coast? | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Staff Profiles Tributes Voices of the Delta Reports Restoration Projects 19 Priority Projects Diversions Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion Restore the Coast Science Science and Engineering Special Team SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife Can a 1926 spillway hold the key to restoring Louisiana s coast December 14 2011 Posted by Delta Dispatches in 2011 Mississippi River Flood By John A Lopez Ph D Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation The Bohemia Spillway area a 12 mile reach on the east bank of the Mississippi River approximately 45 miles downriver of New Orleans is a focus of research by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation LPBF The spillway has a fascinating history In the 1920s New Orleans residents had great fear of flooding from the Mississippi River so the state authorized removal of artificial river levees to create a relief outlet for floodwater In 1926 the artificial river flood protection levees near the Bohemia Plantation were removed thus creating the Bohemia Spillway This flood protection project also fortuitously created a wonderful scientific experiment of reintroducing the river floodwater to the adjacent wetlands Land Change map comparing east Bohemia Spillway to the west bank patterns of wetlands loss Courtesy USGS Couvillion and others 2011 We find today that the wetlands near the spillway are healthier and more resilient than elsewhere in Louisiana Other than some modest shoreline erosion the wetlands seem very stable Other causes of land loss do not seem to be active Typically elsewhere oil and gas canals create direct loss of wetlands and an indirect effect by changing the wetland hydrology Many areas of coastal Louisiana have lingering land loss by canals created decades earlier Not so in Bohemia There is no pattern of indirect loss Rather many canals are filling in with sediment and marsh

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2011/12/14/can-a-1926-spillway-hold-the-key-to-restoring-louisiana%e2%80%99s-coast/ (2016-05-01)
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