What Is Freshwater Diversion?
Freshwater Diversion is the process of moving water from a river or waterbody into a nearby wetlands using a human-made channel and gates to regulate the volume of water flow. The infusion of water, sediment and nutrients helps to slow saltwater intrusion and promote new marsh growth.
Benefits of Freshwater Diversion
There are many benefits to freshwater diversion, but the main goal is to restore the natural functions of a wetland or bay. Freshwater promotes marsh growth and slows saltwater intrusion. In addition, over time oyster growing areas can become too salty and freshwater can help improve the oysters.
Davis Pond Freshwater Diversion
The Davis Pond Freshwater Diversion project is located in Saint Charles Parish on the west bank of the Mississippi River about 15 miles upstream from New Orleans. This project was built to reduce saltwater intrusion in the Barataria Basin by introducing freshwater from the Mississippi River. “The structure consists of four 14 foot by 14 foot box culverts, with a maximum discharge capacity of 10,650 cubic feet per second (cfs). River water is diverted through a 2.2 mile channel into the 9,311 acre ponding area,” (Coastal Protection And Restoration Authority and the State of Louisiana). The freshwater and associated nutrients and sediment help preserve approximately 33,000 acres of marsh and nourish approximately 777,000 acres. Davis Pond is expected to restore former ecological conditions by combating land loss, enhancing vegetation and improving fish and wildlife habitats.