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Our Mississippi

December 2014 Our Mississippi

Mississippi River Geomorphology and Potamology

During the historic flood of 2011, the Mississippi River saw record breaking water levels between Cairo, Ill., and Memphis, Tenn. As the waters receded, inspectors found 3,000 feet of levee crevassed and 2,700 feet of bank line eroded as illustrated in these photos of Sheep Ridge Spurs.
Meriwether-Cherokee Bend
During the historic flood of 2011, the Mississippi River saw record breaking water levels between Cairo, Ill., and Memphis, Tenn. As the waters receded, inspectors found 3,000 feet of levee crevassed and 2,700 feet of bank line eroded as illustrated in these photos of Sheep Ridge Spurs.
Understanding how the Mississippi River responds to the operation of the Bonnet Carre' Spillway, can help us learn about potential effects of large diversions of the river.  Panel A shows the bathymetry before the spillway is opened during May of 2011.  Panel B shows deposition of over 21 feet in the channel immediately after the diversion was closed 42 days later.  Panel C indicates that a majority of the deposited sediment moved out of the study area within one year of the event.
Impact of Bonnet Carre' Spillway
Understanding how the Mississippi River responds to the operation of the Bonnet Carre' Spillway, can help us learn about potential effects of large diversions of the river. Panel A shows the bathymetry before the spillway is opened during May of 2011. Panel B shows deposition of over 21 feet in the channel immediately after the diversion was closed 42 days later. Panel C indicates that a majority of the deposited sediment moved out of the study area within one year of the event.
The Bird's Foot is the main stem of the Mississippi River branches off into three distinct directions at its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico: Southwest Pass (west), Pass A Loutre (east) and South Pass (centre). They are part of the "Bird's Foot Delta", the youngest lobe of the evolving Mississippi River Delta.
Bird's Foot
The Bird's Foot is the main stem of the Mississippi River branches off into three distinct directions at its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico: Southwest Pass (west), Pass A Loutre (east) and South Pass (centre). They are part of the "Bird's Foot Delta", the youngest lobe of the evolving Mississippi River Delta.

Check out our ecohydrology videos:

Asian Carp Mobile Swim Tunnel

Ecohydrology of the Mississippi River floodplain (Island 63)

Bonne' Carre pallid sturgeon rescue

LMRCC Secondary Notching

Aquatics and Wetlands Center Lab Video

Pallid Sturgeon Video

The Mississippi River Geomorphology and Potamology (MRG&P) Program addresses the need for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to have access to the most up-to-date and technically competent scientific data and analysis for providing navigation and flood risk management in an environmentally responsible manner.  Motivated in large part by the 2011 Mississippi River flood, the MRG&P Program began not only from the viewpoint of what went wrong during an epic flood, but from the perspective of what went right, and understanding the reasons for the difference in river response to recent major floods.  The primary purpose of the current MRG&P Program is to improve our understanding of the evolving geomorphology and potamology of the Mississippi River from the confluence of the Missouri River to the Gulf of Mexico.

What is geomorphology?

Mississippi River geomorphology is the study of how the geometric features of the river have changed over time. Geomorphic assessment provides the foundation for projecting future trends with and without proposed project features. It integrates field surveys, existing gage data, sediment data, measurements of channel geometry, and other hydraulic data to characterize hydrologic trends, interactions of the river, and natural and anthropogenic changes to the waterway.

What is potamology?

Mississippi River potamology includes the studies of ecology, hydraulics, hydrology, and geomorphology. A primary goal of potamology is to understand the impacts from changes in river features.

 


The Mississippi River Geomorphology and Potamology (MRG&P) Program is a joint effort of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), St. Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg, and New Orleans Districts, conducted with the oversight of the Mississippi Valley Division and technical contributions from the Engineering Research and Development Center.