Re-Routing The Big River

To reduce the amount of land lost near New Orleans and the mouth of the Mississippi River, scientists and public officials are considering a grand re-routing of the river in hopes of recreating a delta that is rapidly disappearing.
September 21, 2006, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Every year, the river carries 120 million tons of silt out of the bayous and lowlands to the south and east of New Orleans, and dumps it in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In other words, 120 million tons of land is simply scooped up by the Mississippi's murky waters and lost to the great North American land mass."

"The delta region is losing land at the rate of a football field every half-hour or so. Or, to use alternative sporting imagery, the area of a tennis court every 13 seconds."

In an effort to slow this rapid decline, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has proposed a radical rearrangement of the course of the Mississippi River. Essentially, the proposal would decrease the length of the river by allowing it to meet with the Gulf of Mexico sooner. The hope here is that by joining the river and the gulf sooner, the inevitably carried silt would escape from the river into shallower waters, thereby creating a delta.

The re-routing proposal is steadily gaining scientific and public support as a way to rebuild imminently decaying land in a disappearing New Orleans.

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Published on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 in The Independent
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