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MRGO Ecosystem Restoration Plan Feasibility Study

The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) Ecosystem Restoration Plan is being developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as a supplement to the MRGO Deep-Draft De-Authorization Report, which de-authorized and closed the channel to deep draft navigation.

Currently the USACE is conducting a Feasibility Study that will result in a comprehensive ecosystem restoration plan to restore the Lake Borgne ecosystem and areas affected by the MRGO channel.

This restoration plan is being developed in accordance with Section 7013 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007, and the feasibility study is fully funded by the Federal government. The purpose of the study is to restore the areas affected by the construction and operation of the MRGO channel through systematic ecosystem restoration efforts. The study considers several restoration measures to restore the ecosystem, including those that reduce or prevent damages from storm surge.

The study area includes portions of the Mississippi River Deltaic Plain within coastal southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi, and encompasses approximately 3.8 million acres (over 6,000 square miles) of land and open water. In Louisiana, the study area includes Lake Maurepas, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Borgne, and Chandeleur Sound. In Mississippi, the study area includes the Western Mississippi Sound, its bordering wetlands and barrier islands.

Map showing Ecosystem Restoration Plan Study Area

The study evaluates the following issues:

  • Decreased fresh water, sediment and nutrient inputs
  • Hydrologic modifications
  • Saltwater intrusion
  • Wetland loss
  • Ridge habitat degradation and destruction
  • Retreating and eroding barrier islands
  • Bank and shoreline erosion
  • Tropical storms
  • Subsidence
  • Sea level rise
  • Altered circulation and water quality
  • Habitat change and loss
  • Invasive species and herbivory

The study investigates the following opportunities:

  • Freshwater, sediment and nutrient introduction
  • Wetland protection, restoration and creation
  • Shoreline Protection
  • Bank Stabilization
  • Ridge Protection and Restoration
  • Barrier Island Restoration and Protection
  • Water Control (gates, weirs, sills, plugs, fill areas, etc.)
  • Hydrologic restoration
  • Use of native vegetation
  • Natural features for storm surge damage reduction
  • Modifications to authorized projects

To view a complete overview of the project, please view the fact sheet by clicking here.* (PDF; 83KB)

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, public scoping meetings were held to introduce the study and seek public input in 2008. The draft feasibility report and draft environmental impact statement were released in December 2010 and the formal public review period was open until March 2011. During this time, three public meetings were held to provide the public with a formal opportunity to comment on the draft restoration plan. Throughout the planning phase of the study, project team members engaged with members of the public, non-governmental organizations, and local government entities in over 50 different venues to discuss the development of the proposed restoration plan.

For presentations given to the public during the planning process, please click here.

*Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view PDF documents.

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