On 23 February 2011, NOAA (NCCOS and the National Marine Fisheries Service) and the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Science and Technology Program will convene a workshop on 'Response of Louisiana Marsh Soils and Vegetation to Diversions' to be held in the LITE Auditorium at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The workshop is the 3rd in a series of meetings to inform the LCA Science and Technology Board on specific technical issues associated with ongoing and planned freshwater diversions. Previous meetings focused on land-building and fisheries responses. The State of Louisiana and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers established the LCA Ecosystem Restoration Program to reverse the degradation trend of the Louisiana coastal ecosystem.
The LCA Program emphasizes the use of restoration strategies towards achieving and sustaining a coastal ecosystem that can support and protect the environment, economy, and culture of southern Louisiana. The LCA Program considers Mississippi River diversions of water and sediment an important option not only for restoring and protecting, but also sustaining Louisiana coastal systems. However, there is scientific debate over the response of marsh soil and vegetation to the high nutrient Mississippi River water.
The workshop aims to evaluate the current scientific understanding of the effects of freshwater diversions on Louisiana marshes, develop a consensus to inform coastal managers of expected soil and vegetation responses, and identify gaps in our understanding to inform future research priorities and management strategies.