The 2012 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan proposes broad-scale, comprehensive action to address Louisiana's land loss crisis, including major sediment diversions of the Mississippi River. While these projects are expected to aid significantly in addressing the state’s land loss crisis, the socioeconomic implications of implementing sediment diversions are as yet unclear. This analysis, which was initiated by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, is the first of its kind to address the socioeconomic aspects of major sediment diversions in southeast Louisiana.
Hurricane storm protection, water supplies, navigation, commercial fishing, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, jobs, incomes, and the impact on individual parishes are all examined in this study. The socioeconomic analysis is driven by biophysical and fisheries modeling of the diversions, conducted under the Louisiana Coastal Area Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study, which provided input data on land creation, vegetation patterns, fisheries abundance, distribution, and catch, salinity levels, and more.
The results of this analysis did not indicate any region-wide negative socioeconomic impacts to the ten parish area as a result of implementing sediment diversions. On the contrary, many of the socioeconomic indicators analyzed showed marked improvement with diversions over a future without action/no diversion scenario. Finer scale analyses below the parish level, for which the data is not readily available, may reveal additional detail relative to the socioeconomic impacts of diversions to specific communities.