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        Taming the Mississippi

        Learn about the mighty Mississippi River, its delta, and the extensive Mississippi River Watershed with these NASA satellite images and animation. Rivers naturally change course over time as flowing water wears away at the landscape. Ever since settlements have existed along the river, humans have tried to control the Mississippi’s natural course to prevent floods and to keep it flowing toward port cities like Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Management of the river helps protect homes and businesses, but is also leading to the loss of land in the Mississippi Delta.

        To view the Background Essay, Vocabulary, and Teaching Tips for this media gallery, go to Support Materials below. This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA. Click here for the full collection of resources.

        Taming the Mississippi

        Observe the meandering Mississippi River in Louisiana along with its distributary, the Atchafalaya River in this NASA satellite image acquired in February 2014.

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        Mississippi River Watershed

        This NASA animation shows the area of North America that comprises the Mississippi River Watershed, which includes all the tributaries that flow into the river.

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        Taming the Mississippi Annotated

        Observe the meandering Mississippi River in Louisiana along with its distributary, the Atchafalaya River, and some flood control structures in this annotated NASA satellite image acquired in February 2014.

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        Mississippi River Delta, June 10, 1976

        See what the Mississippi River Delta looked like decades ago in this NASA satellite image taken June 10, 1976.

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        Mississippi River Delta, October 15, 2001

        See what the Mississippi River Delta looked like in this annotated NASA satellite image taken October 15, 2001.

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