Mississippi River Science & Technology

Potamology Investigations Report 300-1, Suspended Sediment and Bed Material Studies on the Lower Mississippi River by Lamont G. Robbins, August 1977
A 2012 sediment budget of the lower Mississippi River shows that only 46 percent of the water, 19 percent of the total suspended load and 1.4 percent of the suspended sand in the river above the Old River Control Structure makes it to the Head of Passes in the Bird's Foot Delta. These patterns have major implications for river sediment diversions planned for Louisiana coastal restoration.
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 Lower Mississippi River has more than 100 secondary channels or chutes. Recent environmental engineering practices recognize that many secondary channels can be reconnected to the river while maintaining navigation benefits. To learn more about what makes a high quality secondary channel and to read about an approach to ranking them for restoration link to this technical note. (Read Tech Note)
In 1944, Dr. Harold N. Fisk completed a revolutionary geological study of the Mississippi River Valley for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The maps can be downloaded from the link below.
By leveraging the expertise in the six Mississippi River Districts and the Engineer Research and Development Center, the Mississippi Valley Division seeks to serve as a "focal point" and coordination center for the science and knowledge transfer associated with the Mississippi River, including topics such as sediment transport and potamology, and linkages with stream ecology. Current investigations include coordinating hydrodynamic and sediment transport field investigations, Mississippi River modeling efforts, and supporting pallid sturgeon assessments in the lower river.