Skip to content

Sediment discharge into a subsiding Louisiana deltaic estuary through a Mississippi River diversion

by Gregg A. Snedden, Jaye E. Cable, Christopher Swarzenski, Erick Swenson
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science ()
Get full text at journal


Wetlands of the Mississippi River deltaic plain in southeast Louisiana have been hydrologically isolated from the Mississippi River by containment levees for nearly a century. The ensuing lack of fluvial sediment inputs, combined with natural submergence processes, has contributed to high coastal land loss rates. Controlled river diversions have since been constructed to reconnect the marshes of the deltaic plain with the river. This study examines the impact of a pulsed diversion management plan on sediment discharge into the Breton Sound estuary, in which duplicate 185 m3 s-1-diversions lasting two weeks each were conducted in the spring of 2002 and 2003. Sediment delivery during each pulse was highly variable (11,300-43,800 metric tons), and was greatest during rising limbs of Mississippi River flood events. Overland flow, a necessary transport mechanism for river sediments to reach the subsiding backmarsh regions, was induced only when diversion discharge exceeded 100 m3 s-1. These results indicate that timing and magnitude of diversion events are both important factors governing marsh sediment deposition in the receiving basins of river diversions. Though the diversion serves as the primary source of river sediments to the estuary, the inputs observed here were several orders of magnitude less than historical sediment discharge through crevasses and uncontrolled diversions in the region, and are insufficient to offset present rates of relative sea level rise. ?? 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Cite this document (BETA)

Readership Statistics

59 Readers on Mendeley
by Discipline
39% Environmental Science
37% Earth and Planetary Sciences
14% Agricultural and Biological Sciences
by Academic Status
24% Student > Ph. D. Student
22% Researcher
20% Student > Master
by Country
7% United States
2% Mexico

Sign up today - FREE

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research. Learn more

  • All your research in one place
  • Add and import papers easily
  • Access it anywhere, anytime

Start using Mendeley in seconds!

Sign up & Download

Already have an account? Sign in