Rescuing the Massive Swamp

[2 May 2022] Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin, the nation’s largest cypress swamp, nurtures an abundant ecosystem and protects a critical coast. But years of exploitation and neglect have made it a “ticking time bomb.”

In Huffington Post article, writer Rocky Kistner discusses "Rescuing The Massive Swamp Our Country Depends On But Has Mostly Forgotten." [Link to article] which features, among others, RNR Professor, Dr. Yi-Jun Xu.

Some scientists say there is good reason to believe that a nightmare could come true. Louisiana State University professor and hydrology expert Yi-Jun Xu has studied sediment flows in the region over the past two decades, and warns that growing levels of sediment are raising river water to dangerous levels and dramatically reducing the basin’s ability to absorb floodwater.

Xu says his main concern is a potential disaster at the ORCS (Old River Control Sturcture), which he believes is the weakest point in the Corps’ elaborate thousand-mile flood control system. If it were ever overtopped and significantly damaged, Xu thinks the Mississippi River could take a shorter course straight down the Atchafalaya River to the Gulf, cutting off the flow of Mississippi River water to petrochemical plants and communities all the way to New Orleans that depend on it for their survival.