The Mississippi Alluvial Valley (USA)
The Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) is over 800 km long, ranges from 32 to 128 km wide, and comprises approximately 10 million ha in seven states including Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee (Reinecke et al. 1989 [and references therein], Fig. 1). This vast floodplain begins at the convergence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers at Cairo, Illinois, extends to the northern Gulf of Mexico, and drains about 41 % of the conterminous United States (Reinecke et al. 1989; Klimas et al. 2012). The MAV was largely forested prior to the arrival of Europeans, following which flood control for agriculture and human settlement caused nearly 75 % loss of riparian forests in the MAV by the late twentieth century, with only highly fragmented patches remaining today (Gardiner and Oliver 2005; Klimas et al. 2012). Moreover, the Mississippi River was channelized and leveed for flood protection at unprecedented rates following the 1928 Flood Control Act (King et al. 2005; Oswalt 2013 [and references therein]). Primary crops grown in the MAV include corn, cotton, rice, and soybeans. Rice fields are especially important to diverse waterbirds during migration and winter (Reinecke et al. 1989; Petrie et al. 2014).
KeywordsBottomland hardwood forests Delta Floodplains Hydrology MAV Mississippi Mississippi River Waterbirds Waterfowl Wetlands
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