Special Issue "Sustainable Management, Conservation and Restoration in Deltaic Ecosystems with Special Emphasis on the Mississippi Delta"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrology and Hydrogeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 October 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. G. Paul Kemp
Guest Editor
Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
Interests: fluvial geology; sediment transport; coastal ecosystems; river deltas; changing river discharge; “greening” dams
Prof. Dr. John W. Day
Guest Editor
Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, School of the Coast & Environment, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
Interests: delta ecosystems; coastal restoration; treatment wetlands; tropical ecology; freshwater forested wetlands; evolution of human society; sustainability; ecosystem goods and services

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Coastal ecosystems worldwide are under historically unprecedented threats due to combinations of factors that vary from coast to coast. These include climate change (sea-level rise, more intense storms, and changes in freshwater discharge); growing human populations in port cities near, at, or below sea level; and the increasingly unaffordable costs of protecting people and trade infrastructure in these ecologically significant systems. Deltas are especially vulnerable today because of the rapid emergence of global megacities, efforts to accommodate larger ships, and the potential for irreparable economic losses. The focus of this Special Issue will be the sustainability of both ecosystems and human populations in deltas. The Special Issue will center on the US Mississippi River Delta because of the massive engineering efforts currently underway toward restoring sustainability. In addition, we seek analyses that allow comparisons with other deltas worldwide, particularly those where ecosystem restoration initiatives are underway.

Dr. G. Paul Kemp
Prof. Dr. John W. Day
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • delta
  • Mississippi Delta
  • climate change
  • sustainable management
  • coastal megacities
  • coastal restoration
  • fluvial sediment transport
  • channel resuscitation
  • dam mitigation/removal

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Life Cycle of Oil and Gas Fields in the Mississippi River Delta: A Review
Water 2020, 12(5), 1492; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051492 (registering DOI) - 23 May 2020
Oil and gas (O&G) activity has been pervasive in the Mississippi River Delta (MRD). Here we review the life cycle of O&G fields in the MRD focusing on the production history and resulting environmental impacts and show how cumulative impacts affect coastal ecosystems. [...] Read more.
Oil and gas (O&G) activity has been pervasive in the Mississippi River Delta (MRD). Here we review the life cycle of O&G fields in the MRD focusing on the production history and resulting environmental impacts and show how cumulative impacts affect coastal ecosystems. Individual fields can last 40–60 years and most wells are in the final stages of production. Production increased rapidly reaching a peak around 1970 and then declined. Produced water lagged O&G and was generally higher during declining O&G production, making up about 70% of total liquids. Much of the wetland loss in the delta is associated with O&G activities. These have contributed in three major ways to wetland loss including alteration of surface hydrology, induced subsidence due to fluids removal and fault activation, and toxic stress due to spilled oil and produced water. Changes in surface hydrology are related to canal dredging and spoil placement. As canal density increases, the density of natural channels decreases. Interconnected canal networks often lead to saltwater intrusion. Spoil banks block natural overland flow affecting exchange of water, sediments, chemicals, and organisms. Lower wetland productivity and reduced sediment input leads to enhanced surficial subsidence. Spoil banks are not permanent but subside and compact over time and many spoil banks no longer have subaerial expression. Fluid withdrawal from O&G formations leads to induced subsidence and fault activation. Formation pore pressure decreases, which lowers the lateral confining stress acting in the formation due to poroelastic coupling between pore pressure and stress. This promotes normal faulting in an extensional geological environment like the MRD, which causes surface subsidence in the vicinity of the faults. Induced reservoir compaction results in a reduction of reservoir thickness. Induced subsidence occurs in two phases especially when production rate is high. The first phase is compaction of the reservoir itself while the second phase is caused by a slow drainage of pore pressure in bounding shales that induces time-delayed subsidence associated with shale compaction. This second phase can continue for decades, even after most O&G has been produced, resulting in subsidence over much of an oil field that can be greater than surface subsidence due to altered hydrology. Produced water is water brought to the surface during O&G extraction and an estimated 2 million barrels per day were discharged into Louisiana coastal wetlands and waters from nearly 700 sites. This water is a mixture of either liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons, high salinity (up to 300 ppt) water, dissolved and suspended solids such as sand or silt, and injected fluids and additives associated with exploration and production activities and it is toxic to many estuarine organisms including vegetation and fauna. Spilled oil has lethal and sub-lethal effects on a wide range of estuarine organisms. The cumulative effect of alterations in surface hydrology, induced subsidence, and toxins interact such that overall impacts are enhanced. Restoration of coastal wetlands degraded by O&G activities should be informed by these impacts. Full article
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