• The Mississippi: A Visual Biography by Quinta Scott

    "Great book and great blog - thanks for the first book I have seen that addresses the contemporary river, headwaters to gulf." Dan McGuiness, Audubon, St. Paul, Minnesota

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Conflicting Demands: Levees and Cash


Lima Slough meanders through farmfield in Adams County, Illinois

Illinois Congressman Phil Hare (D-Il) presented the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee with 7,000 signatures in support of raising the 50-year levees that protect farm land in Adams, Henderson, and Hancock Counties to the 500-year level.

I have had this rant before. A 500-year levee is an urban levee.

The New Orleans District of the Army Corps of Engineers, where Katrina causes an estimated $81.2 billion in damages, is struggling to design and built a levee that will protect that city from a 100-year hurricane. The National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council have termed the new levees inadequate.

If 100-year levees at New Orleans cost $14 billion (the 1998 estimated cost of restoring the wetlands that protect the Louisiana coast and New Orleans), then how can we built 500-year levees from Minneapolis to St. Louis at a cost of $6 billion, which will create higher and higher flood levels. We saw Davenport, Iowa go underwater in 2001, because the city chose not to live behind floodwalls and the levees protecting farm land across the river forced the flood into the city.

I know the farmers of Adams, Henderson, and Hancock Counties lost $80 million dollars in the Flood of 2008, but, to be blunt, it is part of the cost of doing business in the floodplain.

Copyright © Quinta Scott, 2009, All Rights Reserved


One Response

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