Danube delta

The Danube River delta has been designated a World Natural Heritage Site, given that its maze of channels, lakes, floodplains, and marshes support a large diversity of fish, birds, animals, and plants.

Photo courtesy of the European Space Agency

Ganges delta

Sediments deposited in the Ganges-Brahmaputra River Delta are among the most fertile in the world. The region is barely above sea level, making it very susceptible to sea level rise.

Photo courtesy of Chelys

Huang He delta

The Huang He River (Yellow River) carries millions of tons of sediment to the ocean each year. Subsequently, the Huang He delta has been built and rebuilt over thousands of years.

Photo courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory

Lena delta

The Lena River Delta is the most extensive protected wilderness area in Russia.

Photo courtesy of USGS, EROS Data Center

Mississippi River Delta

The Mississippi River delta contributes approximately 550 million metric tones of sediment into the Gulf of Mexico.

Photo courtesy of the NASA Earth observatory

Nile delta

The Nile River Delta is one of the world's largest deltas, extending 240 km along the Mediterranean coastline. It is heavily utilized for agriculture.

Photo courtesy of Chelys

Paran delta

The Parana River delta is a huge tourist destination, offering guided boat tours and world class bird-watching.

Photo courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory

Volga delta

The Volga Delta on the northwestern shores of the Caspian Sea loses an average of 16 square kilometers per year from natural and human-induced causes. Nutrients from agriculture lead to massive algal blooms in the water.

Photo courtesy of Chelys

Marine and lacustrine deltas around the world are economic and environmental hotspots. They occupy approximately 1% of the Earth’s land area but are home to greater than 500 million people — all within 5 meters of present-day sea level. Deltas support high productivity, rich biodiversity, and easy transport along a network of waterways. Yet deltaic systems are one of the world’s most delicate and vulnerable natural systems, residing at the boundary of land and ocean, and subject to upstream human control, local resource exploration, and climatic impacts.

There is an urgent need to rally the international community for a focused effort toward a holistic physical-socio-economic understanding of deltas. Such understanding is a basic requirement for their management, protection, and restoration. Thus we propose 2013-2014 to be considered the International Year of Deltas.