For 10,000 years the course of the Mississippi River has deposited land building sediment in certain areas of the Gulf of Mexico coast and taken it away from others. In the last century, however, significant interventions – including levees, dams and spillways – have been constructed to minimize flood risk, better control river flow for navigation and protect Gulf communities and industries.
However these interventions have starved the Delta of its natural source of sediment, and the result has been wetland and coastal land loss so dramatic that the very assets and systems slated for protection are now in jeopardy. To compensate for this, the State has recently put in place a masterplan to identify and fund a series of localized projects aimed at protecting the vulnerable coast.
Building on this effort, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is sponsoring an ambitious multidisciplinary technical competition to produce holistic solutions for rebuilding the Lower Mississippi River Delta wetlands, while also improving navigation and flood protection, and meeting the needs of local industry and coastal communities. EDF has engaged BuroHappold Engineering to develop the scope, methodology and process for this initiative, and to manage it through to completion.
To achieve this, our engineers worked with leadership, technical and stakeholder teams to refine the initiative’s strategic goals and outputs, solicit competition entrants, and vet the responses.
Kate Ascher, Partner
The competition’s initial application pool included over 130 organizations representing 100 areas of technical expertise. We helped EDF select three finalists, who are currently drawing up preliminary designs.
Working alongside EDF throughout the development and realization of this competition will ensure that the final winning design is innovative, feasible and successful in restoring the natural balance of the Mississippi’s wetlands, and able to contribute to the State’s wider coastal masterplan.
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