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Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

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Robert Twilley, vice chancellor of research, University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Sea Grant Week 2010

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Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

  1. 1. LANDSCAPES ON THE EDGE: THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER DELTA RESTORATION
  2. 2. Trees Aged at 250 yrs Disturbance Reorganization
  3. 3. Displaced 700,000 Homes destroyed 130,000 Dead 246 The Great Flood 1927 John Stewart Curry Hoover and the Flood 1940 Library of Congress
  4. 4. 1947 Fisk Map of the river’s historic course 1958 River Flood Capacity Diagram The Transformation of the River: From Flux to Control
  5. 5. MR&T Flood Control Act of 1928
  6. 6. The Transformation of the River: From Flux to Control 1947 Fisk Map
  7. 7. Historical Basins of the Mississippi River
  8. 8. 5. Major Disturbance to social systems; included floods and hurricane events; flooding that threaten public safety and economic development – Federal Responsibility and Response Built Infrastructure
  9. 9. Annual report of Paul Octave Hebert, State Engineer to the Louisiana Legislature, Jan. 1847 Civil engineers Paul Octave Hebert and Absalom D. Woodridge supported a diversified approach to flood control that depended on the combination of outlets and levees. They criticized current measures that relied solely on levees to prevent overflow. By urging the state to adopt new policies aimed at keeping open the last few remaining outlets and building artificial ones to replace those already lost, state engineers tried to temper the drive of many planters to remake the river.
  10. 10. 13 1: The Atchafalaya Floodway represents major section of flood control system Roberts et al. 19971912 1930 1960 1975
  11. 11. 1: The Atchafalaya Floodway represents major success in delta formation
  12. 12. THE WAX LAKE DELTA AS ANALOGUE OF HOW TO REBUILD A DELTA 1990 2005 Wonsuck Kim, Gary Parker, David Mohrig, Robert Twilley, EOS 2009
  13. 13. MIGRATION OF THE MODEL FROM WAX LAKE TO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER BELOW NEW ORLEANS: Two diversions: Barataria Bay and Breton Sound (for demonstration purposes)
  14. 14. Worse Case: SEA-LEVEL RISE = 4 mm/yr, SUBSIDENCE = 10 mm/yr (701 km2) Solid line: variant case Dotted line: base case Developing a Self-Maintaining Coast is Possible Base Case: SEA-LEVEL RISE = 2 mm/yr, SUBSIDENCE = 5 mm/yr (980 km2)
  15. 15. SEA LEVEL Tidal/River Flooding Nutrient Input PRIMARY PRODUCTION Increase Sea Level SUBSIDENCE
  16. 16. Managing River and Coastal Processes linked with Engineering Design to Develop a Self- Maintaining Delta Landscape (footprint)
  17. 17. Sand - Silt – Salt - Nitrate Tradeoffs of Rebuilding Deltaic Coasts Salinity LAND Nutrients
  18. 18. Catchment to the Coast: Hubbard Brook Type Coastal Ecosystem Studies
  19. 19. SCIENCE, 27 August 2005 Katrina 2005
  20. 20. 23 Healthy very tall wetlands being cut for the access channel of the MRGO (Mississippi River Gulf Outlet) EXTENSIVE CYPRESS SWAMPS EXTENSIVE AREAS OF REED SWAMPS 5-6 M HIGH
  21. 21. 5. Major Disturbance to social systems; included floods and hurricane events; flooding that threaten public safety and economic development – Federal Responsibility and Response Built Infrastructure
  22. 22. 1. Regional coastal ‘hubbard brooks’ – case studies of regional trends as research, education, and outreach opportunities.Goal: Widespread use of ecosystem-based approaches to managing land, water and living resources in coastal areas. Goal: Restored function and productivity of degraded ecosystems. Goal: Sound scientific information to support ecosystem-based approaches to managing the coastal environment. Healthy Coastal Ecosystems 3. Catchment to the Coast: Have to leverage with other professional units within university land grant system – and beyond ! 2. Calibrate Cause and Effect: Synthesis of long term trends at ecosystem level –build confidence in how we restore coastal ecosystems (diagnostics vs prescription). 4. Plan for the Reorganization Phase: Be prepared with variety of coastal hazards to provide clear, sound, and balanced ecosystem perspectives.
  23. 23. Coastal Sustainability Studio LSU Sponsored by the America Wetlands Foundation with support from Chevron Corporation
  24. 24. Goals Building with Nature - self sustaining ecosystems Intelligent storm and flood protection Productive innovative economy Dynamic and sustainable community Bayou Bienvenue
  25. 25. Baton Rouge New Orleans Atchafalaya River Basin Lake Charles Lafayette Houma Old River Control Gulf of Mexico Managing the Mississippi: Flood Control that Compliments Restoration
  26. 26. Baton Rouge New Orleans Atchafalaya River Basin Lake Charles Lafayette Houma Old River Control Gulf of Mexico
  27. 27. Managing the Mississippi: From Flood Control to Controlled Flood Baton Rouge New Orleans Atchafalaya River Basin Lake Charles Lafayette Houma Old River Control Gulf of Mexico Wax Lake Diversion Terrebonne Diversion Bayou LaFourche Diversion Davis Pond Diversion MRGO/LaLoutre Diversion
  28. 28. Building on the Urban Edge: Lower 9th Ward Wetland Center
  29. 29. Building on the Urban Edge: Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans
  30. 30. Design Process Stage 4: Scenarios Industry and Jobs Wetland regenerationRecreationHousing and Neighborhoods The Productive Landscape Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3
  31. 31. The Transformation of the River: The Future

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