Rebuilding the River Delta

View all Coastal Land Loss

The Sportsman’s Paradise at the mouth of the Mississippi River provides some of the best hunting and fishing in the U.S., but it’s disappearing at an alarming rate. The good news is that solutions do exist and we can restore Louisiana’s coast.

One of the most significant factors leading to the near collapse of the ecosystem is the straitjacketing of the lower Mississippi River with huge levees, cutting the tie between the river and its delta. Nearly 90 million tons of sediment still pass by Belle Chasse, La. each year, but instead of being deposited in nearby wetlands, this sediment is completely wasted -- lost out of the mouth of the river into the Gulf of Mexico. 

The Mississippi River Delta's wetlands were built and sustained by sediment delivered by the river. Without land-building sediment deposits from the river, the delta is doomed to continue sinking beneath the water – jeopardizing the vital fish and wildlife habitat it supports. Right now, a few key areas along the coast are using sediment to build land. Watch the video for more information.

The sand and mud carried by the Mississippi River and its tributaries is the foundation and the lifeblood of the delta. We must use every tool in the restoration toolbox to stop the land loss and start building land – including projects called sediment diversions. Sediment diversion are designed to mimic that natural process and strategically allow sediment from the river to build and sustain new, healthy wetlands. This is hands down one of the most important things we can do to rebuild our Mississippi River Delta – to reconnect the river with its wetlands.