NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Members of a governor's panel examining the crisis of land loss in coastal Louisiana  say they are optimistic about plans to restore the state's coast by diverting the Mississippi River's water and sediment into estuaries and swamps long cut off from the river's nourishment by levees.

An influential governor's commission in recent months has visited existing Mississippi River diversions built by the Army Corps of Engineers — one called Davis Pond upriver from New Orleans and the other south of the city called Caernarvon. Both diversions funnel mostly freshwater, but also some sediment, into nearby estuaries.

Letting the Mississippi River run free of its banks to restore Louisiana's deteriorated coastal ecosystem is a long-discussed, but controversial, subject.


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