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Analysis of shoreline and geomorphic change for Breton Island, Louisiana, from 1869 to 2014

April 19, 2016

Many barrier islands in the United States are eroding and losing elevation substantively because of storm surge, waves, and sea-level changes. This is particularly true for the deltaic barrier system in Louisiana. Breton Island is near the mouth of the Mississippi River at the southern end of the Chandeleur barrier island chain in southeast Louisiana. This report expands on previous geomorphic studies of Breton Island by incorporating additional historic and recent datasets. Multiple analyses focus on longand short-term shoreline change, as well as episodic events and anthropogenic modification. Analyses periods include long term (1869–2014), long-term historic (1869–1950), post-Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (1950–2014), pre/post-Hurricane Katrina (2004–5), and recent (2005–14). In addition to shoreline change, barrier island geomorphology is evaluated using island area, elevation, and sediment volume change. In the long term (1869–2014), Breton Island was affected by landward transgression, island narrowing, and elevation loss. Major storm events exacerbated the long-term trends. In the recent period (2005–14), Breton Island eroded at a slower rate than in the long-term and gained area and total sediment volume. The recent accretion is likely because of the lack of major storms since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.