Tulane Study finds river diversion plan not enough to end coastal land loss

April 15, 2018 - 5:28 am

State officials have talked about spending billions of dollars on redirecting sediment carried by the Mississippi River to rebuild the state’s vanishing coast, but a study out of Tulane says the diversions will produce new land, but not fast enough.

"We see that what the system is capable of growing is much smaller than what we are losing right now," said lead author Elizabeth Chamberlain, who is a recent Tulane PhD graduate and now a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University.  
 
Chamberlain says their findings doesn’t mean river diversions shouldn’t be utilized at all, but its important the river diversions are positioned in areas that have the greatest land building potential and 
 
"Especially to nourish areas that are coastward of major cities and industry so that we can have this ecological buffer in the form of marshes," said Chamberlain. 
 
Chamberlain says the Mississippi River is capable of building land, but those in charge of coastal policy and management will have to made difficult choices on where to locate these diversions. 
 
"Really what we want to do is be able to manage the resources that we have to maintain the coast in the best way possible, so that people can live and work there," said Chamberlain. 

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