Gulf of Mexico
This graphic shows the model results of land created or conserved by the proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion over 50 years, right, compared to land built by dredging from the Mississippi River and pipelining it inland, left. The red dots are land lost as a result of the diversion operation. Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

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.

Model results for salinity levels in May without (left) and with (right) the operation of the proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion. This time  period assumes the diversion is running at 60,000 cubic feet per second. Assumes 1.5 meters (5 feet) of sea level rise.Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

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.

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