This report documents how a natural diversion – a break in the river levee – lead to significant land loss, not land gain.
“Quantifying the effects of active natural and constructed crevasses is critical to the planning and success of future ecosystem restoration activities. This document provides a historical overview of landscape changes within the vicinity of the natural crevasses near Fort St. Philip, Louisiana. A significant event influencing landscape change within the Fort St. Philip study area was the breaching of the eastern levee of the Mississippi River. Initially, the river water that was diverted through these crevasse channels physically removed significant marsh areas within the study area. These initial direct impacts were succeeded by several decades of larger regional loss patterns driven by subsidence and other episodic events (e.g, hurricanes and floods), and recent localized land gains. These increases in land area are potentially the long-term results of the Fort St. Philip crevasses, and the short-term impacts of delta management activities. However, for the majority of the 1956-2008 period of analysis, the crevassing of the eastern bank of the Mississippi River levee was a loss accelerant in the Fort St. Philip area.”