Forecast Mekong: Navigating Changing Waters
The great deltas of the world are among our most heavily populated and agriculturally productive
landscapes, yet these low-lying coastal areas are extremely vulnerable to climate change and
anthropogenic development. An international challenge is to transform these vulnerable ecosystems
into resilient ones. Through comparative studies and ecological forecasting, such as what is being done
with the Mississippi and Mekong Rivers, we can work towards balancing natural landscape functions
with economic development to produce healthy ecosystems and sustainable deltas. Forecast Mekong
is part of the U.S. Department of State’s Lower Mekong Initiative, which was launched in 2009 by
Secretary Clinton and the Foreign Ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam to enhance
U.S. engagement with the Lower Mekong countries in the areas of environment, health, education and
The U.S. Geological Survey is using research and data from the Mekong River Delta in Southeast Asia
to compare restoration, conservation, and management efforts there with those done in other major
river deltas, such as the Mississippi River Delta in the United States. The project provides a forum to
engage regional partners in the Mekong Basin countries to share data and support local research efforts.
Ultimately, Forecast Mekong will lead to more informed decisions about how to make the Mekong and
Mississippi deltas resilient in the face of climate change, economic stresses, and other impacts.