On October 2, the USDA Forest Service Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research announced the results of a study it had undertaken highlighting the role reforestation plays in reducing flooding and the volume of farmland-derived sediments in waterways of the Lower Mississippi River Alluvial Valley. The project, commissioned and partially funded by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, “provides further evidence of the key role forests play in flood control and in reducing sediment flow from agricultural lands into our waterways,” according to Endowment President Carlton Owen.
The basic recommendation is to revert frequently flooded agricultural lands (or a portion of them) to forestry, to prevent sedimentation of streams and—perhaps more importantly—to reduce the load of nitrogen and phosphorus that reach the Gulf of Mexico. The study has been accepted for publication in the journal Ecological Engineering. More at http://usendowment.org/images/Water_Quality_Study_Summary_10.2.13.pdf.