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The Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet and Land Changes in Louisiana Deltaic Plain, Saint Bernard Parish, Louisiana

<p> Louisiana contains approximately 40 percent of the contiguous United States&rsquo; wetlands, and as much as 80 percent of America&rsquo;s coastal land loss occurs there. This land loss is occurring at an astounding rate&mdash;a rate that is accelerating. The Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MRGO) is a 120-km- (75-mi-) long canal initially dredged in the 1950s and 1960s and maintained by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. It was intended to connect the Port of New Orleans directly to the Gulf of Mexico and bypass the time-consuming, tortuous route via the Mississippi River and Delta. Intially, environmental groups and citizens greatly opposed the MRGO as a potential ecological disaster. While in operation, the channel doubled and even tripled in width in some areas; it merged with Lake Borgne; it amplified storm surge, especially during Hurricanes Betsy and Katrina; and it caused saltwater intrusion in nearby wetlands and forests. Channel dredging ceased after Hurricane Katrina. In 2009, MRGO maritime traffic ended when a rock closure structure was installed. By comparing series of aerial photographs and satellite images, this study will summarize, highlight, and evaluate the land changes associated with the MRGO, with respect to its inland &ldquo;Mile Markers.&rdquo; Additionally, this study compares the roles of human activities versus natural processes in causing land loss in the MRGO area. Aerial photographs and satellite images of the MRGO also were compared and contrasted to see what is presently occurring at the channel concerning the closure structure. Lastly, possible solutions are offered for the mitigation of land loss and/or for creating new land area in the region.</p>
Date04 February 2016
CreatorsBrasseaux, Shawn
PublisherUniversity of Louisiana at Lafayette
Detected LanguageEnglish

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