The Mid-Barataria Basin is suffering from land loss due to hydrologic alteration, sediment deprivation, subsidence, sea level rise and saltwater intrusion. Re-establishing the river/estuarine connection between the Mississippi River and the basin is crucial to the rehabilitation of the area.
The primary purpose of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Project (MBSD) is to reintroduce freshwater and sediment from the Mississippi River to the Basin to re-establish deltaic processes to build, sustain and maintain land. The MBSD is expected to build and nourish ten to thirty thousand acres of coastal wetlands over a 50-year period while also restoring and preserving critical coastal ecosystems over a long-term period.
To serve its ultimate purpose, the MBSD will consist of a concrete intake structure, constructed several hundred feet into the Mississippi River, connected to a gated structure that will control the flows, and a two-mile long conveyance channel that will connect the Mississippi River to Barataria Bay. WSP is designing the approximately 300-foot-wide, 50-foot-high, 800-foot-long intake structure, that will divert more than 75,000 CFS of sediment-laden freshwater to the Barataria Bay, where it will be deposited for the creation of land.
Due to its critical nature through the Mississippi River Levee, the intake structure was designed against various hazards – both man-made and natural – consisting of ship impacts, riverine flooding, tidal surge flooding and a Category 5 hurricane.
The project is being delivered under a Construction Management At-Risk delivery and is currently undergoing a strict value-engineering phase, where the team is working to lower the budget constraint while also considering the hydrologic goals of the project.