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Hurricanes as a Major Driver of Coastal Erosion in the Mississippi River Delta: A Multi-Decadal Analysis of Shoreline Retreat Rates at Bay Champagne, Louisiana (USA)

1
Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, College of the Coast and Environment, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
2
Department of Natural Sciences, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI 48128, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(10), 1480; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10101480
Received: 24 September 2018 / Revised: 13 October 2018 / Accepted: 16 October 2018 / Published: 19 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Research on River Deltas)
The Louisiana shoreline is rapidly retreating as a result of factors such as sea-level rise and land subsidence. The northern Gulf of Mexico coast is also a hotspot for hurricane landfalls, and several major storms have impacted this region in the past few decades. A section of the Louisiana (USA) coast that has one of the highest rates of shoreline retreat in North America is the Caminada-Moreau headland, located south of New Orleans. Bay Champagne is a coastal lake within the headland that provides a unique opportunity to investigate shoreline retreat and the coastal effects of hurricanes. In order to examine the influence of hurricanes on the rate of shoreline retreat, 35 years (1983–2018) of Landsat imagery was analyzed. During that period of time, the shoreline has retreated 292 m. The overall rate of shoreline retreat, prior to a beach re-nourishment project completed in 2014, was over 12 m per year. A period of high hurricane frequency (1998–2013) corresponds to an increased average shoreline retreat rate of >21 m per year. Coastal features created by multiple hurricanes that have impacted this site have persisted for several years. Bay Champagne has lost 48% of its surface area over the last 35 years as a result of long-term shoreline retreat. If shoreline retreat continues at the average rate, it is expected that Bay Champagne will disappear completely within the next 40 years. View Full-Text
Keywords: shoreline retreat; coastal erosion; hurricanes; Mississippi River Delta shoreline retreat; coastal erosion; hurricanes; Mississippi River Delta
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Dietz, M.E.; Liu, K.-B.; Bianchette, T.A. Hurricanes as a Major Driver of Coastal Erosion in the Mississippi River Delta: A Multi-Decadal Analysis of Shoreline Retreat Rates at Bay Champagne, Louisiana (USA). Water 2018, 10, 1480.

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