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Title: Mass removal efficiencies in water and consequences after a river diversion into coastal wetlands: second thoughts

Salinity control, nutrient additions, and sediment supply were directly or indirectly the rationale for a $220 million coastal wetland restoration project (Davis Pond River Diversion) that began in 2002. We sampled Mississippi River water going in and out of the receiving basin from 1999 to 2018 to understand why wetland loss increased after it began. There was a reduction in inorganic sediments, nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) concentrations within the ponding area of 77%, 39% and 34%, respectively, which is similar to that in other wetlands. But the average sediment accumulation of 0.6 mm year−1inadequately balances the present-day 5.6 mm year−1sea level rise or the 7.9 ± 0.13 mm year−1accretion rates in these organic soils. Nutrients added likely reduced live belowground biomass and soil strength, and increased decomposition of the organic matter necessary to sustain elevations. The eutrophication of the downstream aquatic system from the diversion, principally by P additions, increased Chlaconcentrations to a category of ‘poor’ water quality. We conclude that this diversion, if continued, will be a negative influence on wetland area and will eutrophy the estuary. It is a case history example for understanding the potential effects arising from proposed river diversions.

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Springer Science + Business Media
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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