Journal Highlights

Nonflood Flow May Be Major Driver of Delta Growth

Research Spotlight—

Plants and fluctuating river flow work together to balance vertical sediment buildup with sediment delivery to the delta’s edge. 

Sea level rise threatens coastal populations around the world. To combat this threat, some communities have employed—or plan to employ—a controversial technique in which rivers are diverted to build new coastal land as deltas. By replenishing lost land, these efforts seek to protect against coastal flooding and create new wildlife habitat. 

The success of river diversions relies, in part, on plants. Depending on their density and placement, plants may promote or hinder sedimentation in river deltas. However, past research into these effects has been limited, and it has often relied on the assumption that floods are the major drivers of landscape change. 

To gain better insight into plants’ influence on delta development, Piliouras et al. used a laboratory setup to mimic delta dynamics....more

-- Sarah Stanley, Freelance Writer,