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Mississippi River Sediment Diversion Program<< Back to Key Initiatives

About Sediment Diversions

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To address the root of the problem, it is important to “reconnect the river” and restore the natural processes that initially built the delta. Controlled sediment diversions offer a unique opportunity to strategically reestablish hydrologic flows, carry land-building sediments, nourish marshes, and sustain land. When utilized along with marsh creation and the full suite of protection and restoration projects, this integrated systems approach can combat the grave land loss that threatens our coast.

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The concept of river diversions is not a new one. We have several other river diversions constructed and operated throughout the state. Caernarvon and Davis Pond were designed and constructed to control salt water intrusion by delivering freshwater into the estuaries. In addition, the Morganza and Bonnet Carre spillways have been built to provide a relief valve to the Mississippi River levees during river flooding events.

While freshwater diversions were not designed to build or maintain land, land growth has occurred at several of these sites. The images below show land growth over time at the outfall areas of Davis Pond and Wax Lake.

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The Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton diversions will be different. Their primary objective will be to capture and divert sediment from the river and deposit it into the basins to build and maintain land.

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