A New Changing Course: From the Last Naturally Active to a New Naturally Active and Sustainable Mississippi Delta

Project Goals:
  • Formalize a new framework to promote safe and sustainable development in coastal Louisiana
  • Reinitiate a functioning delta by reactivating to some extent all major distributaries
  • Redesign a new New Orleans by incrementally raising large portions of the city using river sediments, promoting gravity drainage for most of the city, and planting a healthy cypress forest that would be nourished and protected from saltwater intrusion by river water
  • Raising and building structures that are storm resilient, energy-efficient and use renewable energy

This project involves various disciplines including law, architecture and landscape architecture, coastal and environmental sciences, engineering, public relations, and art.

Project Team:
    • John Day Professor Emeritus of Oceanography + Coastal Sciences
    • Clint Willson, PhD, PE Mike N. Dooley, P.E. Professor, College of Engineering
      Director, LSU Center for River Studies
    • Jim Wilkins Louisiana Sea Grant Legal Program
    • Craig Colten, PhD Carl O. Sauer Professor, Department of Geography & Anthropology
    • G. Paul Kemp
Project Outputs:

This project depicts a new future for coastal Louisiana with a bold new set of restoration strategies that focus on activating all delta complexes, rebuilding oyster reefs, armoring the coast with tree trunks, and restructuring land use in the coastal zone. There will be inland and upward migration that is critical to reducing public risk and the misuse of limited restoration funding.

Direct + Broader Impacts:
Team members are publishing a book on this analysis. In addition to policy analysis, the book provides scientific information and imagery of the ecological, economic, and social history and future of coastal Louisiana, with detailed maps with and other visual elements. This illustrates the sobering realities of relying on to industrial methods to restore the coast, and the great potential ecological and cultural benefits if we invest in restoring natural deltaic processes.