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MODELING OF LAND BUILDING IN THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA: A TEMPLATE FOR RECONSTRUCTION. Wonsuck Kim & Gary Parker, University of Illinois As part of a much larger team led by C. Paola (NCED) and R. Twilley (CLEAR) . THE ORIGINS OF OUR LAND-BUILDING TECHNOLOGY:

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MODELING OF LAND BUILDING IN THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA: A TEMPLATE FOR RECONSTRUCTION


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    1. MODELING OF LAND BUILDING IN THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA: A TEMPLATE FOR RECONSTRUCTION Wonsuck Kim & Gary Parker, University of Illinois As part of a much larger team led by C. Paola (NCED) and R. Twilley (CLEAR)

    2. THE ORIGINS OF OUR LAND-BUILDING TECHNOLOGY: CAN HUMANS JUMP-START THE NATURAL DELTA-BUILDING PROCESSES OF RIVERS?

    3. THE NATURAL PROCESS OF DELTA LOBE CONSTRUCTION AND SWITCHING Lobe gif from M. Wolinsky

    4. DELTA MADE BY HUMANS: TAILINGS BASIN OF AN IRON MINE, LABRADOR, CANADA ~ 2.4 km Sediment disposal rate: ~ 24 Mt/yr

    5. DELTA MADE BY HUMANS: TAILINGS BASIN OF AN IRON MINE, MINNESOTA ~ 3 km Sediment disposal rate: 21Mt/yr

    6. WE HAVE DEVELOPED AND VERIFIED NUMERICAL MODELS THAT DESCRIBE THE OVERALL EVOLUTION OF THESE DELTAS DECADES INTO THE FUTURE

    7. HOW MUCH SEDIMENT IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR DELTA BUILDING IN THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA? Input: ~ 208 Mt/yr Atchafalaya River: ~ 84 Mt/yr Lower Mississippi River: ~ 124 Mt/yr Wax Lake Delta: ~ 34 Mt/yr Suspended sediment loads Atchafalaya Delta: ~ 50 Mt/yr

    8. TEST OF CONCEPT: NUMERICAL MODEL OF EVOLUTION OF THE WAX LAKE DELTA Atchafalaya River Mississippi River Wax Lake Delta The delta started to formed in 1973, when it received increased flow from the Atchafalaya River. Its growth has been monitored ever since.

    9. OUR MODEL CAN REPRODUCE THE WAX LAKE DELTA’S PAST Before start of delta growth

    10. THE MODEL CAN REPRODUCE THE WAX LAKE DELTA’S PAST Yellow: 38 Mt/yr White: 25 Mt/yr (suspended load)

    11. THE MODEL CAN REPRODUCE THE WAX LAKE DELTA’S PAST Yellow: 38 Mt/yr White: 25 Mt/yr (suspended load)

    12. THE MODEL CAN REPRODUCE THE WAX LAKE DELTA’S PAST Yellow: 38 Mt/yr White: 25 Mt/yr (suspended load)

    13. THE MODEL CAN REPRODUCE THE WAX LAKE DELTA’S PAST Yellow: 38 Mt/yr White: 25 Mt/yr (suspended load)

    14. PREDICTIONS INTO THE FUTURE OF THE WAX LAKE DELTA HIGH HIGH LOW LOW HIGH: Solid line, 38 Mt/yr; LOW dotted line: 25 Mt/yr (suspended load)

    15. MIGRATION OF THE MODEL FROM WAX LAKE TO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER BELOW NEW ORLEANS: Two diversions: Barataria Bay and Breton Sound (CLEAR plan)

    16. POTENTIAL SEDIMENT FOR DELTA BUILDING: 45% OF 124 Mt/yr, OR 56 Mt/yr (~ 3 iron mines) 45% of floodwater and sediment diverted. Breton Sound: 28 Mt/yr delivered 11 Mt/yr captured Barataria Bay: 28 Mt/yr delivered 11 Mt/yr captured

    17. SCENARIOS MODELED 100 year simulations from 2010 Base case: Subsidence: 5 mm/yr; sea level rise: 2 mm/yr Variant parameters Subsidence: 1 mm/yr, 10 mm/yr Sea level rise: 0 mm/yr, 4 mm/yr Image from M. Wolinsky

    18. PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR LAND-BUILDING: BASE CASE Takes only about 0.1 years to build these initial deltas

    19. PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR LAND-BUILDING: BASE CASE

    20. PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR LAND-BUILDING: BASE CASE

    21. PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR LAND-BUILDING: BASE CASE

    22. PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR LAND-BUILDING: BASE CASE

    23. PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR LAND-BUILDING: BASE CASE

    24. PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR LAND-BUILDING: BASE CASE

    25. PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR LAND-BUILDING: BASE CASE

    26. PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR LAND-BUILDING: BASE CASE

    27. PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR LAND-BUILDING: BASE CASE

    28. PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR LAND-BUILDING: BASE CASE Base case: 918 km2 of new land

    29. VARIATION: SEA-LEVEL RISE RATE = 0 mm/yr, SUBSIDENCE = 5 mm/yr Solid line: variant case Dotted line: base case 1002 km2 of new land

    30. VARIATION: SEA-LEVEL RISE RATE = 4 mm/yr, SUBSIDENCE = 5 mm/yr Solid line: variant case Dotted line: base case 845 km2 of new land

    31. VARIATION: SEA-LEVEL RISE = 0 mm/yr, SUBSIDENCE = 1 mm/yr Solid line: variant case Dotted line: base case 1217 km2 of new land

    32. VARIATION: SEA LEVEL RISE = 2 mm/yr, SUBSIDENCE = 1 mm/yr Solid line: variant case Dotted line: base case 1101 km2 of new land

    33. VARIATION: SEA LEVEL RISE = 2 mm/yr, SUBSIDENCE = 10 mm/yr Solid line: variant case Dotted line: base case 753 km2 of new land

    34. VARIATION: SEA-LEVEL RISE = 4 mm/yr, SUBSIDENCE = 10 mm/yr Solid line: variant case Dotted line: base case And extra land-building due to organics is not yet included “Worst case”: still 701 km2 of new land

    35. IN ORDER FOR THE DIVERSIONS TO BE SUCCESSFUL, CONTROL STRUCTURES AND SHORT GUIDE CHANNELS, NOT OVERFLOW POINTS, ARE NEEDED • We need to get as much sand as possible into the new deltas. • The present Caernarvon diversion, while helpful, delivers mostly mud. • We know how to build the control structures that divert sand as well as mud, because we built the Old River Control Structure to regulate flow into the Atchafalaya River.

    36. SLURRY PIPELINES CAN BE HELPFUL TO START LAND-BUILDING http://www.lacpra.org/index.cfm?catid=0&elid=0&fmid=0&md=pagebuilder&nid=31&pid=20&pnid=24&tmp=home IF SUSTAINED FOR MORE THAN A FEW YEARS, HOWEVER, THEY CAN BUILD DELTA SLOPES THAT ARE TOO STEEP.

    37. (m) -0.3 - 0 0.3 0.6 0.9 1.2 1.5 Many species of fish like this edge zone near bars. NEXT STEP: BUILD IN THE FINE STRUCTURE • The land-building model predicts overall topography. • We are using field measurements to build in the statistical structure of • bars/channels/edge effects/ etc. necessary for ecosystem modeling. Our field effort on the Wax Lake Delta is our main template.

    38. NEXT STEP: BUILD IN THE ECOLOGICAL COMPONENTS OF THE NEW DELTA Most of these components are already in place at Louisiana State University and within the CLEAR group in Louisiana.

    39. NEXT STEPS: • CONSIDERATIONS OF SUCH FACTORS AS • Effect of diversions on Mississippi River upstream • Coastal sediment supply • Storm surge • Navigation • Socioeconomic implications: e.g. oyster farms, shrimp • POLITICAL WILL Levee strengthening will be needed in the short term AMBITIOUS PROJECTS ARE POSSIBLE! Parker’s great-grandfather and great uncle were construction workers on this first bridge to span the Mississippi River in New Orleans

    40. Most of the Mississippi Delta, some 10,000 square miles, lies less than three feet above sea level. Beset by land subsidence and rising sea levels, much of this vast area will inexorably sink beneath the waters by the end of this century. BRUCE BABBITT

    41. Most of the Mississippi Delta, some 10,000 square miles, lies less than three feet above sea level. Beset by land subsidence and rising sea levels, much of this vast area will inexorably sink beneath the waters by the end of this century. BRUCE BABBITT OUR REPLY Before major human intervention, the Mississippi Delta historically maintained itself with river slopes on the order of 3 ft of drop per 30 miles without sinking beneath the waters! How? The surface is NOT a static “board” that will sink because of its low slope – it is a DYNAMIC, self-maintaining surface that keeps itself from drowning by adding sediment to balance subsidence. Think about your bank account. If you withdraw $1,000 a month every month, you will go broke before long. How can you fix the problem?

    42. Most of the Mississippi Delta, some 10,000 square miles, lies less than three feet above sea level. Beset by land subsidence and rising sea levels, much of this vast area will inexorably sink beneath the waters by the end of this century. BRUCE BABBITT OUR REPLY START DEPOSITING $1000 A MONTH!

    43. WE THINK THAT THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EXISTS TODAY TO REBUILD A NEW, LIVING MISSISSIPPI DELTA Wax Lake gif from M. Wolinsky