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The Mississippi, the Atchafalaya, and a Pipeline to Colorado

 

I came across this interesting article from the Valley Courier in Alamosa, Colorado today:

A Gunnison, Colorado hay farmer wants to tap the Mississippi River and funnel Mississippi River water to Colorado through  a 22-inch, 1,200-mile long  pipeline from Hickman, Kentucky on the Mississippi to Colorado to alleviate the water shortage in the western U.S. Alamosa, by the way, is on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, on the other side of the Continental Divide, way outside of the Mississippi watershed.

He reasons that there is more water in the Mississippi than we know what to do with, that the major use of the Mississippi is navigation, and water funneled to Colorado will not disrupt navigation.

An intermittent stream that flows to the Canadian River in New Mexico

An intermittent stream that flows to the Canadian River in New Mexico

Scientists, studying the restoration of the Louisiana coast, question if there is enough water in the Mississippi to divert into the coastal marshes to nourish them with sediments and nutrients and still maintain navigation.

Bayou La Pointe, Terrebonne Basin

Bayou La Pointe, Terrebonne Basin

The Corps of Engineers already taps 1/3 of the Mississippi at the Old River Control Structure and sends down the Atchafalaya to the Gulf of Mexico.  Some scientists are proposing sending 2/3 of the Mississippi down the Atchafalaya to the Gulf of Mexico in order to get more freshwater and nutrients to the western Terrebonne  and the Vermilion Basins.

There is a second article in the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun-Herald about diverting Mississippi River water  and sediment to Mississippi Sound out front  the Mississippi Gulf Coast to restore wetlands in the sound. The Corps of Engineers would also like to restore the barrier islands, speed bumps to hurricane storm surges, in the sound

Deer Island off Biloxi Bay

Deer Island off Biloxi Bay

The demands on the Mississippi are growing as the West runs out of water and the Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coasts run out of wetlands to protect their cities.

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