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Louisiana Creates Unique Plan To Save Its Coast By Diverting Mississippi River

By Brian Spaen

Louisiana’s coastlines are shrinking, and one intriguing way to fix the problem is certainly unconventional. In the past, one way the state has tried to decrease land loss is by building levees, but that's not without negative impact. To curb the issue before it’s too late, new restoration projects could actually use the Mississippi River itself to build up land.

How serious of an issue is this? For perspective, over the past century, Louisiana has seen a loss of 2,000 square miles of their coastline. Specifically over the past quarter century, wetlands have been dissolving at a pace of roughly one football field per hour. Over the past five years, it could even be quicker. Hurricanes and tropical storms can significantly impact that rate, and 2018 could feature an above-average season.

To put last year’s predictions into context, that was expected to be a down season, according to Colorado State climatologists. The median forecast between 1981 and 2010 was 12 named storms, and 2017 saw a record-breaking 17 of them. Louisiana was hit by a pair of hurricanes and a tropical storm, though with no deadly results.