Project Spotlight: East Maurepas Diversion
A new restoration project, the East Maurepas Diversion, would reconnect nearby swamp to the Mississippi River and would help prevent the swamp from turning into open water.
Courtesy of Louisiana Lost Lands Environmental Tours
The East Maurepas Diversion, located between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, would channel fresh water and sediment from the Mississippi river into degraded swamp in the eastern Maurepas Swamp. Dominated by bald cypress and water tupelo trees, this swamp complex is one of the largest areas forested wetlands in the nation. However, levees constructed along the river and the closure of a bayou have isolated the area from spring floods and the vital fresh water, nutrients and sediment. This isolation has left the swamp in a state of rapid decline – trees are dying, and young trees are not growing to replace them.
The East Maurepas Diversion will reconnect the swamp with the river. Increased fresh water and nutrient input in the Maurepas Swamp will help prevent further conversion of swamp to open water and combat saltwater intrusion into the more than 100,000 acre Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area which offers opportunities for sportsmen to hunt white-tailed deer and alligator and fish for freshwater species, such as largemouth bass, sunfish, and crappie. This project was recently awarded $14.2 million for engineering, design, and permitting.
Public meetings are coming up this winter and we’ll keep you posted on our Facebook page and at www.vanishingparadise.org.