Massive Louisiana wetlands project gets underway

$2.9 billion Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion seeks to rebuild miles of lost land and marshes

Officials have broken ground on a massive wetlands restoration project in Louisiana. The $2.9 billion Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion seeks to restore a portion of the Mississippi River to rebuild miles of land and coastal marshes. The effort is the state’s largest project aimed at reversing lost coastline. Since the 1930s, an estimated 2,000 square miles of coastline has eroded, due largely to subsidence, sea level rise and storm damage. Officials had proposed a diversion project in the area since the 1998.

Critics worry the project will harm local fishing industries, as well as local bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncates) populations, but an environmental impact statement concluded that its benefits will outweigh its harms.

“At the end of the day, the premise of the project is we want to reconnect the Mississippi River with our coastal areas so that we can replenish the marsh and grow the land that we’ve lost,” Gov. John Bel Edwards told reporters.


Header Image: The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion seeks to rebuild land and marshes in Louisiana. Credit: NOAA