Discover the Delta

The Mississippi River Delta is a vast mosaic of marshes and forested wetlands, estuaries, navigable waterways and islands that makes up most of southern Louisiana.

The Mississippi River Delta sustains enormous populations of wildlife, has given birth to some of our country’s most distinctive cultures and traditions, and made possible America’s rise as a global superpower through innovative economic development.

Learn more about why America needs the Mississippi River Delta.

Satellite view of the Mississippi River Delta (NASA)

The Mississippi River Delta formed over thousands of years as North America's mightiest river deposited sand, clay and organic material into the warm, shallow waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico.

But over the last 200-300 years, human alterations of the river system have caused the delta to collapse. Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost about 1,900 square miles of land — land that has disappeared into open water.  Recent catastrophes, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the BP oil disaster, exacerbated the coastal crisis and were also made much worse because of it. As the delta disappears, so does the natural protection it provides.

This land loss continues today at a staggering rate and threatens to erase all the benefits the delta provides to wildlife, people and America’s economy. But just as human alteration has led to ecosystem collapse, human ingenuity can restore this great American landscape.

Take a look at some of our restoration projects to see how we're working forge a new future for the delta.