Meet the Woman Planning an Underwater Highline Through the Bayou
By Gail Sowards,
March 5, 2016
The Mississippi River is being built into a bayou-style greenway. The bayou-style greenway is an important part of the larger Mississippi-Rio Grande Greenway Network. The Mississippi-Rio Grande Greenway will become a 1,600-mile network of rivers, creeks, bays, and bayous that connects five states from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain.
When it opened, the 1,600-mile greenway was the largest greenway system in the nation. It also served as a model for other states across the country. During the planning process, which has taken place over the past 20 years, many people have voiced concerns that greenways would damage the river, or that greenways lack the political support to pass. The greenway is being built and maintained by dedicated volunteers under the guidance of staff and volunteers from the Mississippi River Basin Task Force, a joint effort between the Mississippi River Basin Project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Natural Resources.
A project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers explains the importance of the Greenway.
We decided to ask one of the project managers for the Corps of Engineers, Doug W. Johnson, about his efforts to create the bayou-style greenway.
“We did a lot of modeling and studying after the initial design phase,” Johnson explained. “We wanted to make sure that there was sufficient water capacity in the Bayou to support the infrastructure, and also that the engineering was conservative and designed for the worst-case-scenario. We figured that if the water got low, we could pump it up quickly, and it would be a very efficient way of delivering water to areas that weren’t necessarily designed to be served by the Mississippi River. If we could find a way to put a channel in the middle of the bayou, we could put some of the bayou in an urban area, but also in a rural area along the river