Implications of global climatic change and energy cost and availability for the restoration of the Mississippi delta

Ecological Engineering
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Abstract

Over the past several thousand years, inputs from the Mississippi River formed the Mississippi delta, an area of about 25,000 km2. Over the past century, however, there has been a high loss of coastal wetlands of about 4800 km2. The main causes of this loss are the near complete isolation of the river from the delta, mostly due to the construction of flood control levees, and pervasive hydrological disruption of the deltaic plain. There is presently a large-scale State-Federal program to restore the delta that includes construction of water control structures in the flood control levees to divert river water into deteriorating wetlands and pumping of dredged sediment, often for long distances, for marsh creation. Global climate change and decreasing availability and increasing cost of energy are likely to have important implications for delta restoration. Coastal restoration efforts will have to be more intensive to offset the impacts of climate change including accelerated sea level rise and changes in precipitation patterns. Future coastal restoration efforts should also focus on less energy-intensive, ecologically engineered management techniques that use the energies of nature as much as possible. Diversions may be as important for controlling salinity as for providing sediments and nutrients for restoring coastal wetlands. Energy-intensive pumping-dredged sediments for coastal restoration will likely become much more expensive in the future.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Implications of global climatic change and energy cost and availability for the restoration of the Mississippi delta
Series title Ecological Engineering
DOI 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2004.11.015
Volume 24
Year Published 2005
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) National Wetlands Research Center, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Description 13 p.
First page 253
Last page 265
Country United States
State Louisiana
Other Geospatial Mississippi River Delta