Mississippi River Diversion Plan Could Reclaim Land

<p>Engineers have unveiled a massive plan to let the Mississippi River flow out of several of its levees to reduce the amount of sediment that flows into the ocean. Proponents say the $50 billion plan would reclaim much of the land-building sediment.</p>
May 1, 2007, 2pm PDT | Nate Berg
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"To save the state from washing into the ocean at the astonishing rate of 24 square miles per year, Louisiana officials are developing an epic $50 billion plan that would rebuild the land by rerouting one of the world's biggest rivers. The proposal envisions enormous projects to provide flood protection and reclaim land-building sediment from the river, which now flows uselessly out into the Gulf of Mexico."

"Diversions would carry the Mississippi and its land-enhancing sediment into the eroding coastal areas. Other elements in the plan call for mechanically pumping sediment to rebuild marshes and barrier islands. Hundreds of miles of new or reconstructed levees would add flood protection."

"'This will be one of the great engineering challenges of the 21st century -- on the order of the Channel Tunnel or the Three Gorges Dam,' said Denise J. Reed, a scientist at the University of New Orleans who has focused on the river. 'What is obvious to everyone is that something has to be done.'"

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Published on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 in The Washington Post
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