Mississippi River Dams Doom Gulf Marshes

Marsh loss in the Gulf region is being exacerbated beyond repair by dams along the Mississippi River, according to a recent study.
June 30, 2009, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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The report from Louisiana State University says the dams upstream trap too much sediment, preventing restoration of the marshlands near where the river meets the Gulf of Mexico. Combined with climate change, recuperation of these rapidly depleting marshes is not likely, according to the report.

"The loss of thousands of additional square miles of marshland is 'inevitable,' the scientists report in Monday's issue of Nature Geoscience.

The finding does not suggest it would be pointless to divert the muddy water into the marshes, one of the researchers, Harry H. Roberts, said in an interview. 'Any meaningful restoration of our coast has to involve river sediment,' said Dr. Roberts, a coastal scientist.

But he said officials would have to choose which parts of the landscape could be saved and which must be abandoned, and to acknowledge that lives and businesses would be disrupted."

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Published on Monday, June 29, 2009 in The New York Times
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