SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 14, July 2016 - Page 39

and upstream from big brother, China.

The Mekong is at a crossroads and tasked with weighing the benefit of hydroelectric dams and energy production versus the cost of blocking fish migration, which would result in the loss of protein and income derived from a river that flows free of impediments. All of this, combined with an astounding lack of adequate environmental impact assessments, presents a potentially daunting future for the Mekong.

Given the low-lying, expansive nature of the Delta, and its proximity to the sea, the Mekong is especially vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise. The biggest threats come from the mixed fate of non-seasonal flooding and drought to bank erosion and loss of crops. Some provinces of the Delta are expected to be under water by 2030 in light of the current sea level rise predictions.

For now, the daily life on the Mekong continues – and natural, intermittent flooding can bring new life, much like fires or controlled burns do in forested areas. The floods continue to inspire cultural events and rituals throughout the Mekong.

Definitely give yourself more than 24-hours, it will be a sensory treat for any water lover.

Carolyn Sotka Adjunct Faculty, College of Charleston Graduate Program. MES & GPMB. Writer & Photographer at The (where this article was first published) & WanderSea Productions