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Mississippi River Ship Channel Dredging and Wetlands Creation – An Environmental Success Story

There are 6,800 acres of new marshland bordering the Passes of the Mississippi River – land that was created starting in 2011 by a coalition intent on stopping the loss of land in Louisiana at a rate once described as “a football field every hour.”

The Mississippi River advocacy group Big River Coalition (BRC) has been working with the Corps and industry leaders to begin to reverse this trend in the birdfoot delta at the mouth of the river. The new marshland was created in the delta through beneficial use of maintenance dredged material.
An ongoing project at Head of Passes will create another 1,000 acres by the end of this year.

This success is the result of a decade-long effort by the organization, which advocates and facilitates the use of material dredged from the navigation channel to reclaim the land surrounding the Passes – land that has eroded to open water in recent decades.

Sean Duffy, BRC executive director, explained that in 2011 the Corps of Engineers began requiring the Mississippi River to “live within its budget”, which had been running a $20 million defecit. For many years the Corps funded the Mississippi River operations with funds often intended for other projects. The Corps must also abide by the Federal Standard that requires it to use the most economically responsible options available.

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