Co-evolution of wetland landscapes, flooding, and human settlement in the Mississippi River Delta Plain
River deltas all over the world are sinking beneath sea-level rise, causing significant threats to natural and social systems. This is due to the combined effects of anthropogenic changes to sediment supply and river flow, subsidence, and sea-level rise, posing an immediate threat to the 500–1,000 million residents, many in megacities that live on deltaic coasts. The Mississippi River Deltaic Plain (MRDP) provides examples for many of the functions and feedbacks, regarding how human river management has impacted source-sink processes in coastal deltaic basins, resulting in human settlements more at risk to coastal storms. The survival of human settlement on the MRDP is arguably coupled to a shifting mass balance between a deltaic landscape occupied by either land built by the Mississippi River or water occupied by the Gulf of Mexico.
The hurricane events that continue since 2005 bring into critical focus the need to assess how best to provide the necessary tools to build knowledge and local capacities to manage the needs of present and future coastal Louisiana challenges. In this study, capacity is defined as agreement with regulator ideology that undergirds policy and regulation promulgated by Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. Designed as a natural experiment, this study is a follow-up to a pre-Hurricane Katrina study of the effectiveness of Louisiana’s Local Coastal Program (LCP) in building local coastal zone management capacity in local decision-makers (Norris-Raynbird, 2006). Using personal interview and mail-out survey methods, it compares post event data (2011) with the preevent data (2005).
A Thesis submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Louisiana State University by Jack Van Lopik, June 1955. During the Quaternary great changes have occurred in coastal Louisiana. The processes giving rise to these changes are still operative today. Such modifications are reflected in the sediments laid down during any given time span. In this study and attempt is made, primarily through the interpretation of the sedimentary record, to roughly outline the history of central coastal Louisiana during the preceding 150,000 years. Emphasis is placed on the changes of the last 5,000 years.