Addressing Louisiana’s Land Loss Crisis

What Happened?

There are a number of reasons for this severe and detrimental loss of land, including: sea level rise, subsidence, saltwater intrusion, manmade contributions, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and subsequent response activities, and side effects of our current levee system. Our levees, which provide critically important flood protection to our coastal communities, have cut off the Mississippi River from Barataria Basin, restricting it from depositing sediment and nutrients into the basin.

Since the 1930’s, Barataria Basin has lost more than 276,000 acres of land.

Louisiana’s Coast: Today Louisiana’s Coast: Today
Louisiana’s Coast: 1930 Louisiana’s Coast: 1930

If we do nothing to address our land loss crisis, Barataria Basin is expected to lose an additional 274,000 acres of land over the next 50 years. The estuary will collapse, and the communities, industry, wildlife, and fisheries that rely on the basin will no longer be able to do so.

What Do We Do About It?

The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has determined, as part of its Coastal Master Plan, that sediment diversions are the state’s best chance at restoring, building, and sustaining wetlands and retaining a functional ecosystem that will preserve the communities, culture, species, and industries that rely on it.

Sediment diversions are designed to re-establish the natural processes that originally created the delta and restore and maintain wetlands lost over the past century – something other projects, like dredging and barrier island creation, cannot fully do.

We need an integrated approach to coastal protection and restoration, using all the tools in the toolbox to rebuild and sustain land.

About the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is one of the largest and most innovative coastal restoration efforts ever undertaken and one of the largest environmental infrastructure projects in the history of the United States.


River Mile 61, Near Ironton, La

Project Details

  • Controlled, gated structure
  • Maximum flow: 75,000 cfs
  • Width: 1,600-foot corridor
  • Length: Approximately 2 miles


Proposed funding source: Dollars from the State of Louisiana’s Deepwater Horizon natural resource damages settlement

Permitting Process

A Unified Approach to Restoration and Sustainability


Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority Logo

State agency and permit applicant for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion.

Responsible for engineering, design, and coordinating with USACE.


LA TIG logos

Group of coordinating federal and state agencies responsible for overseeing the use of the Deepwater Horizon natural resource damages settlement dollars allocated to Louisiana.

Responsible for the Restoration Plan, which is the document that details the recommendation of funding the project.


USACE logo

Lead agency of the EIS process; hosts public meetings and accepts all public comments on both the DEIS and Draft Restoration Plan

Responsible for permitting decisions under the Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors Act

Archival video used with permission from Louisiana Public Broadcasting