Coastal regions of the world where rivers meet the ocean are constantly undergoing gain and loss of

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Coastal regions of the world where rivers meet the ocean are constantly undergoing gain and loss of land due to the deposition of sediment carried by rivers and to erosion, respectively. The loss of land in coastal Louisiana has been greatly accelerated by human activities, as conveyed by the following quote from the website of the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act: with construction of extensive levee systems along the Mississippi River to maintain navigation and reduce flooding of adjacent homes and businesses, the Mississippi River has been confined to a small portion of its original flood plain. The levees have prevented coastal wetlands from receiving the regular nourishment of riverine water, nutrients and sediment that are critical to coastal wetland survival. In addition, the declining sediment load in the Mississippi River, due to upstream dams on the river and its tributaries, results in less sediment available for coastal marsh nourishment to compensate for subsidence (Kesel 1988). The amount of sediment currently being carried by the Mississippi River is only 50% of that carried during historic delta building conditions (Kesel 1988, Kesel 1989, Kesel et al. 1992, Mossa 1996). Discuss the role of engineering in contributing to this loss by building levees, dams, and other infrastructure. How may the engineering attitude and approach have contributed to the development and implementation of such designs? Suggest an approach that is likely to be less harmful to the environment but can still meet at least some of the human needs.

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