Louisiana’s Barataria Basin has experienced some of the highest rates of land loss on the planet: Between 1932 to 2016, the region lost nearly 295,000 acres of land, displacing communities, threatening critical infrastructure and jobs, and decimating formerly diverse and abundant wildlife habitat.

Louisiana’s bounty – its fisheries, wildlife, and abundant natural resources – are at risk of complete collapse without large-scale restoration projects like the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion. This project is a crucial first step in turning the tide on the state’s land loss crisis and protecting vulnerable communities from hurricanes and sea level rise, while also ensuring the long-term health of the ecosystem and wildlife in the face of a changing climate and coast.

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is the single largest ecosystem restoration project in the history of the U.S. This project will build more wetlands than any other individual restoration project in the world, and it is exactly the scale of project we need to address the very serious challenges we face.

In early March, the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion. Coming in at over 5000 pages, consisting of 10 chapters and 20 appendices, the statement is chock full of information about this proposed project and what it can do to restore our coast. 

Read the DEIS here | Learn more about the project on the CPRA website | What supporters are saying about sediment diversions

We also understand, that’s a lot to digest and you probably have a lot of questions like we did. We are hosting three informational webinars to help you navigate the documents and the process. Learn more about those webinars and how you can get involved


What’s at Stake

The unique cultures and way of life for millions of Louisianians are inextricably connected to the natural resources and protection of the state’s coast.

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion would be the largest individual ecosystem restoration project in U. S. history. It’s the scale of project needed to confront the very serious challenges facing Louisiana’s coast.

With decades of world-class science and engineering focused on this restoration effort, Louisiana is leading the world in facing immense coastal challenges with innovative solutions. This project will reconnect the river to its delta and use the land-building power of the river to help sustain us into the future.

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The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will build tens of thousands of acres in one of our most at-risk coastal areas

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will protect vulnerable communities from hurricanes and sea level rise.

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will provide habitat for innumerable fish and wildlife of Sportsman’s Paradise.

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will create jobs as part of a water management, restoration and resilience economy.

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will ensure the long-term health of the ecosystem in the face of a changing climate and coast.

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will cost a fraction of the cost of dredging alone.

A Game-Changer for Louisiana’s Coastal Crisis

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is an innovative, widely studied, and proven project – and it is our best shot at a vibrant and resilient future for communities, fish and wildlife habitat and the multi-billion dollar economy that depends on a healthy Mississippi River Delta.

Since diversions reestablish natural deltaic processes and continuously build land over time, they provide long-term benefits that constructed marsh creation projects alone do not. Sediment diversions provide a regular supply of sediment and fresh water to wetlands, sustaining traditional marsh creation projects while also building new land. Plus, using the river as a resource allows for more land-building potential than we could get with dredges alone – and it can do it at a fraction of the price tag.

The Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will be strategically located and adaptively managed, meaning we can change how the project is working based on monitoring environmental and resource conditions. This flexibility will help the diversion ensure the overall goals for building and sustaining land are achieved, while also factoring in the needs of communities, fisheries, navigation, and other economic and social concerns. For decades, scientists and engineers have considered all the tools available and agree that this project is the best solution to match the challenges we face from land loss, sea level rise and climate change. This is our best shot.

Want more details on the science and operations of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion?

The Future of our Coast: It’s Up to Us

A picture is worth a thousand words, but let’s be clear: Louisiana’s coast has lost nearly 300,000 acres of land since the 1930s. Without action, Barataria Basin alone could lose an additional 44 square miles of land in the next 20 years and 428 square miles of land over the next 50 years, a nightmare scenario that would jeopardize the safety and prosperity of the entire region, threaten our culture and entire way of life, and eviscerate coastal habitat that wildlife need to survive.

But the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion will have major, beneficial impacts to land-building in the Barataria Basin compared to a future without the project. It will build and maintain 17,300 acres of wetlands within 30 years of the project’s initial operations, deliver 310 million cubic yards of sediment into Barataria Basin within 50 years of operation, and increase elevation of land near the outfall area by 3.6 feet within 50 years.

This graphic shows the model results of land created or conserved by the proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion over 50 years, right, compared to land built by dredging from the Mississippi River and pipelining it inland, left. The red dots are land lost as a result of the diversion operation. (Graphic from Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority)

Sediment Diversion Reading List