Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

McCorquodale, J. Alex

Second Advisor

Georgiou, Ioannis Y.

Third Advisor

Meselhe, Ehab A.

Fourth Advisor

Guillot, Martin J.

Fifth Advisor

Barbe, Donald E.


The presence of man-made levees along the Lower Mississippi River (MR) has significantly reduced the River sediment input to the wetlands and much of the River's sediment is now lost to the Gulf of Mexico. The sediment load in the River has also been decreased by dams and river revetments along the Upper MR. Freshwater and sediment diversions are possible options to help combat land loss. Numerical modeling of hydrodynamics and sediment transport of the MR is a useful tool to evaluate restoration projects and to improve our understanding of the resulting River response. The emphasis of this study is on the fate of sand in the river and the distributaries. A 3-D unsteady flow mobile-bed model (ECOMSED; HydroQual 2002) of the Lower MR reach between Belle Chasse (RM 76) and downstream of Main Pass (RM 3) was calibrated using field sediment data from 2008 – 2010 (Nittrouer et al. 2008; Allison, 2010). The model was used to simulate River currents, diversion sand capture efficiency, erosional and depositional patterns with and without diversions over a short period of time (weeks). The introduction of new diversions at different locations, e.g., Myrtle Grove (RM 59) and Belair (RM 65), with different geometries and with different outflows was studied. A 1-D unsteady flow mobile-bed model (CHARIMA; Holly et al. 1990) was used to model the same Lower MR reach. This model was used for longer term simulations (months). The simulated diversions varied from 28 m3/s (1, 000 cfs) to 5, 700 m3/s (200, 000 cfs) for river flows up to 35, 000 m3/s (1.2x106 cfs). The model showed that the smaller diversions had little impact on the downstream sand transport. However, the larger diversions had the following effects: 1) reduction in the slope of the hydraulic grade line downstream of the diversion; 2) reduction in the available energy for transport of sand along distributary channels; 3) reduced sand transport capacity in the main channel downstream of the diversion; 4) increased shoaling downstream of the diversion; and 5) a tendency for erosion and possible head-cutting upstream of the diversion.


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