LA - Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion could create, save 47 square miles of land over 50 years
The massive proposed $1.4 billion Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion, a few miles downriver from New Orleans, could create or save from erosion as much as 47 square miles of land and wetlands in Barataria Bay over its first 50 years, new computer modeling shows.
The land building would occur even as water heights rise by close to 5 feet by 2100, thanks to a combination of sinking soils and sea-level rise driven by climate change, state officials say.
The preliminary modeling results of the diversion’s effects were presented to the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority board at its December meeting by Brian Lezina and Bradley Barth, who are overseeing the permitting process for the authority.
The results also have been presented in recent weeks at a variety of meetings with public officials and stakeholder groups along the coast.
Plans call for the diversion to be located just north of Myrtle Grove on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish. A decision by the Army Corps of Engineers on whether to permit the diversion could come by the end of 2021, with construction to soon follow if the permit is granted.
The modeling also confirms that that there will be significant changes in salinity levels throughout Barataria Bay over the next 50 years, whether or not the diversion is built, Lezina said during an interview.