Restoration Of The Mississippi Delt Lessons From Hurricanes Katrina And Rita

Restoration Of The Mississippi Delt Lessons From Hurricanes Katrina And Rita

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In the article, “Restoration of the Mississippi Delta: Lessons from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita”, Day et al. (2007) depicted the history, evolution and growth of the Mississippi River Delta. The authors elaborately described the altered natural dynamics and deterioration of the delta caused by human footprint. The authors also provided useful approaches, policy and management efforts applied or taken for the effective and sustainable restoration process of the delta.
According to Day et al. (2007), the 25000 km2 dynamic landscape of the Mississippi Deltaic Plain was formed by a process of overlapping lobes of delta within time. As the eustatic sea level became relatively static about 6000-7000 years ago, the delta started to form mainly by the deposition of the riverine sediments. Barrier islands and interior freshwater marshlands were also formed simultaneously with the formation of delta lobes. All of these components made a framework together, where the distributory channels and barrier islands safeguard the freshwater wetlands from wave action and saltwater intrusion.
Day et al. (2007) contended that humans considerably changed the above mentioned scenario. The net growth of the delta was observed for the past several thousand years although the natural growth and decay cycle persisted. We completely leveed the river, closed almost all the distributories, prevented it from taking a shorter route to the Gulf of Mexico and forced the river to discharge all of its sediment load to the deep of the Gulf. Thus, we prevented its natural overbank flooding & crevasse formation and isolated the river from its delta plain. The repercussion of that is loss of wetlands by interior erosion and submergence, which is the main drive...

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...cial and recreational fishing, and oil and gas production”. In addition, a more effective coastal restoration should include a comprehensive idea on changes in supply of fresh water, suspended sediment, nutrient input flux as well as changes in sea-level rise, precipitation patterns, and hurricane frequency and intensity.
Day et al. (2007) listed the following policy and management action for the restoration of Mississippi River Delta: Coastal Wetlands, Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) in 1990, “Coast 2050—Toward a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana” in 1998, Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Ecosystem Restoration Study, Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Project (LACPR). The authors believe that the restoration process applied to the Mississippi River Delta will help to understand other deltaic environments and their restoration potential.

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