Supporting River and Delta Science through Data Management and Visualization

Science Center Objects

Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study (MRHDMS)is the first large-scale, long-term restoration assessment initiated under the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Program.

Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study (MRHDMS)

Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study (MRHDMS)

The Science Issue and Relevance: The Mississippi River is the largest river and drainage system in the United States, stretching for more than 2000 miles from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. When compared to other river systems of its size across the globe, the Mississippi River has very few long-term, publicly available datasets. In an effort to establish a comprehensive baseline of publicly available data on this great river, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) has partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to fund the Mississippi River Hydrodynamic and Delta Management Study (MRHDMS). It is the first large-scale, long-term restoration assessment initiated under the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Program. Through this effort, data will be collected in the lower Mississippi River and the surrounding deltaic regions including multibeam bathymetry, 3-D flow velocity (acoustic Doppler current profiler – ADCP), water levels (CTD), sediment particle size (LISST), water quality, and magnetometer data. Considering the scope and magnitude of the coastal erosion rates being experienced in Louisiana, acquiring, organizing and exposing comprehensive (land and water) baseline data is critical to assessing how the system reacts to upcoming restoration projects.

Methodology for Addressing the Issue: The USGS WARC Advanced Applications Team leads the jointly funded data management and visualization effort in support of MRHDMS. Working directly with scientists, we have developed standards on data packaging, formatting, delivery, and storage. Pre-existing data standards were also leveraged and expanded upon where applicable, promoting data compatibility with previous efforts. Through lengthy discussions with data collectors, “new” data types such as ADCP data were also standardized and incorporated into the data management workflow. MRHDMS data can be accessed through the LCA.gov web application, a long-standing joint web presence for cooperative projects between CPRA and USACE. Using an interactive web mapping environment (http://www.lca.gov/Map/MapFull.aspx?ProjectID=22), USGS computer scientists display the location of the various data collected. For some data types like multibeam bathymetry, a user can see the processed contour data as an overlay on the river. For other data such as ADCP, a user can see where the data were collected such as along a river transect as well as plotted point observational river velocity values along the water column. Currently these data are being used by State and Federal project planners working in and around the river. As the Louisiana Master Plan 2017 modeling effort gets underway, these data will be foundational in seeding the hydrologic and ecologic models.

Future Steps: The MRHDMS project under the LCA umbrella is scheduled to run through calendar year 2016.