Meet the mastermind behind Louisiana’s plan to rebuild land

The Water Institute of the Gulf

ICYMI: Meet the mastermind behind Louisiana’s plan to rebuild land


LAKE CHARLES, La. (July 20, 2017) – In case you missed it, The Times-Picayune ran a story highlighting the work of Ehab Meselhe, Vice President of Science and Engineering at The Water Institute of the Gulf.

From The Times-Picayune:

On a cement platform below the I-10 bridge, Ehab Meselhe pulled a jug of muddy water out of an unassuming metal box. The box held water samples suctioned from the Calcasieu River by an automatic gauge. Each jug represented a sample taken 48 hours apart.

Looking at the tawny colored water in the jug, Meselhe said if the water was taken from the Mississippi River, it would be muddier. That, Meselhe said, is a sign of the Mississippi’s potential. It’s evidence that the river that once shifted paths on its route to the Gulf of Mexico — depositing sand, silt and clay along its way — is still capable of building land.

As vice president of science and engineering at The Water Institute of the Gulf, Meselhe has been tasked with studying several of the state’s most ambitious projects to rebuild and stabilize land along the coast. His work has informed the planning for two river diversions in Plaquemines Parish, which would create openings in the levees that keep the Mississippi River contained. The openings would allow river sediment to flow into adjacent marshes, replenishing land that’s sinking and eroding in large part from being leveed off from the river.

Much like the sediment carried hundreds of miles from agriculture fields in the Midwest to Southern Louisiana, Meselhe’s own life has been carved by water. He was born in Egypt, in a town at the apex of the Nile delta, and spent the first part of his career studying the Nile basin.

"It’s very long but it is much smaller in size than the Mississippi," he said of the Nile’s water volume in comparison to the Mississippi’s. "In fact, the two mid-diversions put together is the same size as the Nile. So, I keep saying that we are sticking a Nile out of the Mississippi.

The full story is here.

About The Water Institute of the Gulf
The Water Institute of the Gulf is a not-for-profit, independent research and technical services resource with a mission to support resilient coasts and sustainable water systems worldwide. Our work helps ensure livable communities and a thriving economy and environment. For more information, visit
Media Contact: Amy Wold | awold
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