Levees on the Lower Mississippi from Cape Girardeau to the Delta have prevented the river from depositing it sediment, mud, in the Gulf of Mexico and building land. Westward trending longshore currents carry mud, spilling out of the Mississippi Delta into deep Gulf waters, where it is lost. Many factors have contributed to Louisiana’s land loss in the last century. The Mississippi levees are just one, but an important one.
However, mud, streaming out of the Atchafalaya River and the Wax Lake Outlet, is being deposited in shallow Gulf waters and building land. Hence, come the Flood of 2015, the Corps of Engineers have opened the Old River Control Structure, designed to keep the Mississippi from diverting to the Atchafalaya, in order to allow good Mississippi mud to build a delta in the western Louisiana Deltaic Plain.
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