riparian rap

Huge floodplain restoration project in northern Louisiana

The New York Times ran a nice article this week on a groundbreaking floodplain restoration project in northern Lousiana. The US Fish and Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy are restoring a 25 square mile patch of floodplain along the Ouachita River.

The area was cleared and leveed in the 1960’s. It’s now owned by the USFWS and is part of the Upper Ouachita River Refuge. Plans are to breach the levee system and return it to the river. The NY Times article is comprehensive (as those in the Science section tend to be), and links to a TNC video.

The levee is huge–roughly 30 feet high and 120 feet wide at the base. I wish them luck and look forward to studies on how this reconnection works, because I think we’ll be seeing a lot of it in the future, and rightly so.

The area is not far from Monticello, Arkansas, where I went to high school. I flew over this refuge in a light plane once, and remember well the huge green wildness of it. (It’s always fun to hear outsiders try to pronounce the river’s name. It’s WASH-i-taw.)

Photo by Steve Haase (TNC) shows the restoration area at left.