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Review

Recovery and Restoration of Biloxi Marsh in the Mississippi River Delta

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Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
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Chinn-McDade Associates LLC, 1401 Distributors Row, Suite C, New Orleans, LA 70123, USA
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Comite Resources, P.O. Box 66596, Baton Rouge, LA 70896, USA
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Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, 101 Blessey Hall, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Georg Umgiesser
Water 2021, 13(22), 3179; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13223179
Received: 14 July 2021 / Revised: 29 October 2021 / Accepted: 31 October 2021 / Published: 10 November 2021
The State of Louisiana is leading an integrated wetland restoration and flood risk reduction program in the Mississippi River Delta. East of New Orleans, Biloxi Marsh, a ~1700 km2 peninsula jutting 60 km north toward the State of Mississippi is one of few Delta wetland tracts well positioned to dissipate hurricane surge and waves threatening the city’s newly rebuilt hurricane flood defenses. Both its location on the eastern margin of the Delta, and its genesis as the geologic core of the shallow water St. Bernard/Terre aux Boeuf sub-delta, which was the primary Mississippi outlet for almost 2000 years, make Biloxi Marsh attractive for restoration, now that the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet deep-draft ship channel has been dammed, and 50 years of impacts from construction and operation have abated. Now, the cascade of ecosystem damage it caused can be reversed or offset by restoration projects that leverage natural recovery and increased access to suspended sediment from the Mississippi River. Biloxi Marsh is (1) geologically stable, (2) benefiting from increased input of river sediment, and (3) could be restored to sustainability earlier and for a longer period than most of the rest of the submerging Mississippi Delta. The focus of this review is on the Biloxi Marsh, but it also provides a template for regional studies, including analysis of 2D and 3D seismic and other energy industry data to explore why existing marshes that look similar on the ground or from the air may respond to restoration measures with different levels of success. Properties of inherent durability and resilience can be exploited in restoration project selection, sequencing and expenditure. Issues encountered and investigative methods applied in the Biloxi Marsh are likely to resonate across initiatives now contemplated to sustain valuable river deltas worldwide. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mississippi River Delta; Biloxi Marsh; marsh submergence; relative sea level rise; delta restoration Mississippi River Delta; Biloxi Marsh; marsh submergence; relative sea level rise; delta restoration
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kemp, G.P.; McDade, E.C.; Day, J.W.; Lane, R.R.; Dawers, N.H.; Day, J.N. Recovery and Restoration of Biloxi Marsh in the Mississippi River Delta. Water 2021, 13, 3179. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13223179

AMA Style

Kemp GP, McDade EC, Day JW, Lane RR, Dawers NH, Day JN. Recovery and Restoration of Biloxi Marsh in the Mississippi River Delta. Water. 2021; 13(22):3179. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13223179

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kemp, G. P., Elizabeth C. McDade, John W. Day, Robert R. Lane, Nancye H. Dawers, and Jason N. Day. 2021. "Recovery and Restoration of Biloxi Marsh in the Mississippi River Delta" Water 13, no. 22: 3179. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13223179

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