The decline in the suspended load of the Lower Mississippi River and its influence on adjacent wetlands
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Since 1850, there has been an overall decrease in excess of 70 percent in the suspended load transported by the Lower Mississippi River. A decrease of 25 percent between the earliest measurements and 1950 may be partly the result of a decline in discharge and partly the result of a change in land use practices. The largest decrease occurred in 1952–53 following construction of major main-stem reservoirs on the Missouri River. Similar construction on the Arkansas River has resulted in a further decrease in 1962–63. The decrease in suspended load, combined with the artificial levee construction program and the overall enhancement of the river channel for navigation has been accompanied by an accelerating decline in land area of the Louisiana coastal zone from 17 km2/yr in 1913 to 102 km2/yr in 1980.
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