Category: Managing Water Quality and Precipitation Anomalies
Project Team: Louisiana Ecological Forecasting II
Team Location: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory – Pasadena, California
Dr. Cathleen Jones (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Dr. Marc Simard (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Nick Rousseau (Center Lead)
Erosion, land subsidence, and sea level rise along the Louisiana coast have led to 4,900 square kilometers of land loss since the 1930s. It is estimated that Louisiana has the potential to lose an additional 4,500 square kilometers over the next 50 years if no restoration action is taken. While most of the Louisiana coast is eroding, the Wax Lake Delta has continued to grow at a rate of approximately 5 square kilometers per year since the 1970s. Currently, labor-intensive, boat-based surveys are conducted to understand the delta building dynamics at Wax Lake. There have been a number of studies on the natural processes that contribute to this growth, but many of these studies lack tested models. We used remotely-sensed and in situ data, as well as Deltares Delft3D modeling software, to model water flow and sediment transport in the delta — calibrating the model using AirSWOT data. Model outputs will be used to inform coastal research by project partners at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Mississippi and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium to assist the efforts of coastal managers in predicting coastline change and planning restoration projects to reduce land loss along Louisiana’s coast.