Monday, November 12, 2012

Mississippi River Delta Marshes are morphing

From the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate

The mouth of the Mississippi River is moving north, and unless preparations are made in advance for those changes, the impact could be devastating, speakers at a recent coastal conference said.

However, the changes also present opportunities for navigation and coastal restoration, said Paul Kemp, vice president of the Louisiana Audubon Society’s Gulf Coast Initiative.

Waiting for the navigation system at the mouth of the river to “break” is not the way to handle the problem, especially when it’s known that it’s going to happen, Kemp said.

As with the levees in New Orleans, it’s clear that it’s more expensive to react to disaster than to prepare for it, he said during the “Answering Fundamental Questions about Mississippi River Delta Restoration” symposium Friday and Saturday at LSU.

“If you know that’s happening, you can actually get in front of it and take advantage of it,” Kemp said. “It’s not all bad.”

Knowing that the river is changing means there are opportunities to not only get more sediment into eroding coastal marshes, but to also make navigation channels in the river more stable in the future.