CWPPRA Restoration Technique: Marsh Creation
Marsh creation replicates the natural land-building process of the Mississippi River in a controlled, and much accelerated, fashion. Land is built by a pipeline dredge that removes sediment from a “borrow” site by using a specialized vessel outfitted with a drill, suction pump, and pipe. As the drill, or cutterhead, spins, it agitates sediment at the bottom of the borrow site. This sediment is then pumped with water into a pipe that carries the resultant slurry to the restoration site. Once the slurry is in place, the water runs off as the sediment settles to form new land. Native vegetation is then installed to jump-start wetland productivity. Marsh creation projects result in restored wetlands in areas that were open water just weeks before.
CWPPRA is striving to identify and construct projects that provide strategic benefits by holding together larger ecosystems and that use renewable sediment resources like the river. Over the course of 26 years, CWPPRA has been restoring one piece of broken marsh at a time, which cumulatively yields significant results over time. The long-term vision is to sustain these restored marshes by restoring part of the riverine processes that first built them.