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An Earthen Sill as a Measure to Mitigate Salt Intrusion in Estuaries

Published on 28/05/2024 by Gijs G. Hendrickx, Laura A. Manuel, Stuart G. Pearson, Stefan G. J. Aarninkhof, Ehab A. Meselhe

Gijs G. Hendrickx

Gijs Hendrickx

Delft University of Technology

Output contains: 3d modelling estuary nature based solutions salt intrusion Salt wedge


At a global scale, deltas are vital economic hubs, in part due to the combination of their access to inland regions via river systems with their proximity to sea. However, with the sea in close vicinity also comes the threat of freshwater contamination by saline seawater, especially during droughts. This study explores the potential of a mitigation measure to estuarine salt intrusion, namely the construction of a (temporary) earthen sill—a measure implemented in the Lower Mississippi River near New Orleans (LA, USA). This study suggests design guidelines on how a sill can be used to mitigate estuarine salt intrusion: the design should focus on the longitudinal placement and the height of the sill, and the mitigating efficiency of the sill reduces with increasing tidal range. Overall, a (temporary) sill has great potential to reduce salt intrusion in salt wedge estuaries if there is sufficient water depth available.

Last modified: 03/06/2024