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Author Topic: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?  (Read 11889 times)

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Offline chain

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2011, 03:59:03 pm »
Thirty or forty years ago their was a move on by landowners, some municpalities, and even State-run interest to build levees inside the primary levees of both  east- west sides of the Miss. River. Some of these were 'spur' levees connected to the main levee running perpendicular or a right angle a length down the river bank to throw the current of a flooding river back to the other side, other private levees often protected a section or two of farm land tieing it in on both ends to the primary levees. This has constricted the  flood plain of the area inside the levees.

Lots of problems with those levees as when they do fail they often damage land and river banks causing sanding and a virtual wasteland for years and years. The Corps of Engineers were lax on this matter for quite a long time yet, still, many of those private levees remain and contribute even to severe erosion problems at much lower flood stages, also contributing to higher and more dangerous flooding.

In '93 on the Missouri river, they found out the hard way when the great flood hit and tore up vast acreages of farmland and destroyed important river ecology. This flood even took out century old homes and cemeterys once thought to be far above the flood plain. Meanwhile, the rain continues to fall steadily here, will we be next?

Offline ARKANSAWYER

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2011, 07:33:13 pm »
  Well we got another 3 inches today but looks like it will clear out tonight.  We could use a little dry weather.
  I lived in Mississippi back in 73 when it flooded.  I remember riding to town in the car and the only dry land was around a house or two that were diked  and the road way which was built up about 6 ft over the rest of the land.  I used to mow snakes in the  yard till it got to stinking to bad and GrandMa made me stop. ;D  The catfish farm up the road flooded and I was catching cats out of the ditch in the front yard.  I would not wish that flood on anyone.
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Offline chain

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2011, 10:05:36 pm »
Presently I have 6.7" in rain guage at 9:00 p.m. from beginning Saturday night. The latest news on Bird Point is the destruction of the levee will begin tonight, three seperate blasts, taking and estimated six hours to complete the breaching.

They added another 1.5 ft. on to our river crest this evening.

At least, the 'albatross' will be off our necks, here in Missouri.

Offline sandhills

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2011, 10:46:31 pm »
I heard on the news tonight they were going to blow it too, our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved.  I can't imagine the ramifications, of either choice really, doing it or not doing it, just glad it's not my call.

Offline ARKANSAWYER

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2011, 07:42:10 am »
  The morning news just showed the explosion of the levy,  It is done!  There was a guy on there telling how this will destroy 130,000 acres of prime farm land.  What he does not understand it was flooding that made that farm land.  He said the land would be destroyed and unusable for years.  Depending on how long it takes the water to recedes may determine if they get a crop in this year or not.  But it is possible that the next few years crops will be the better for it.  There was a field here that got flooded in 2008 and when the water went down he 3 ft of new sand on his hay field.  He sold most of the sand for $7.50 a ton and disced his field and has one of the best bermuda grass hay fields in the area.
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Offline Cedarman

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2011, 10:55:13 am »
Arky, I'm with you.  I thought that was how river bottoms got to be fertile.  I suppose right where the rush of water is that there will be erosion, but as the water spreads out it slows down and drops its load.   They say it will be July before the water leaves the land.
Will the landowners be compensated for their losses and who will reimburse them?  Or is it just part of the deal with the devil that the levees protected them in the past and farmed at their own risk?
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Offline chain

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2011, 12:26:49 pm »
The blast was heard and felt for at least 40 miles around and in five states! Disappointing to me as many people are happy about destroying the farms at Birds Point. It is like a victory of sorts, not that saving Cairo was the point, very disgusting. Turned political, socialist vs. people who try to make a living off the land.

This whole delta was once part of the Gulf of Mexico. Ice age and many, many other geological factors helped make the delta what it is and isn't. But, for millions of years the Ohio and Mississippi rivers changed courses, earthquakes change drainages, but back in those times, there were no man-made levees to constrict the channels and floods, the water spread out over a vast flood plain from near Cape Girardeau, Mo. to the Gulf.

If any of you caould find a copy of "Missouri Landscapes: aTour through Time" this volume could explain the many factors in the evolution of our present day geological and topographical make up in the mid -America region.

Offline Larry

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2011, 12:42:17 pm »
I was up in north Missouri during the flood of 93.  When a levy broke a lot of times it would cut a ditch 30 feet deep and 100 yards across.  The flood waters would drop up too 6 feet of sand on the ground.  Nothing at all like a natural flood.  Some of the flooded ground was ok if no current and was returned to productivity.

After the flood the FSA offered cost sharing to get rid of the sand.  I canít remember for sure but I think they would only try if the sand was less than 18" deep.  There still is a lot of ground up there that is only good for riding four wheelers on.
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Offline Faron

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2011, 01:22:44 pm »
It's not impossible for  the river to cut a new channel down the floodway.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2011, 02:23:51 pm »
but back in those times, there were no man-made levees to constrict the channels and floods
Are you saying that you wish that there were no levees now?

We built artificial levees and channels and put the river where nature never intended for it to go.  When nature then flexes it's muscles, as it is doing now, there is not enough room inside of those levees for the water.  Something has gotta give....somewhere.  No body wants that "somewhere".

Just wait until the high water gets to South Louisiana.   :-\
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2011, 02:27:29 pm »
It's not impossible for  the river to cut a new channel down the floodway.

That could easily happen in the Atchafalaya River basin.
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Offline chain

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2011, 04:15:27 pm »
Reported shortly after noon today,  a Tow-boat barge has hit the I-1-55 bridge which spans the Mississippi river between Dyersburg, Tn. and Caruthersville, Mo., closing all traffic until inspection cleared. At least the second time of collison at this bridge last 6mos.. River pilots have a difficult turn, a treacherous stretch, partly because of a private levee is still standing with flood waters at the top and very near to the bridge, choking the channel width. Another issue very hard to understand, the Corps allowing private levees to affect river flow.

Offline davch00

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2011, 05:29:10 pm »
I live in Southeast Missouri and was for the Corps. blowing the levee. My 2 cents is if you willingly build a house and farm behind the levee or in that floodway you should be willing to accept that its going to flood. The floodway was being used for what it was built for. Why should people upstream have to pay because you living in a floodplain.

Offline Banjo picker

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2011, 05:48:47 pm »
I think I will throw my hat in with davch00....by the way davch00 what took you so long to post....Many of the folks that live below the dam at Pickwick have homes built on piling or stlits of some kind....I guess I will get flack for this view point , but it won't be the first time I have differed with my contemporiaries...One of Miss. ole time senators from years gone by either Stennis or Eastland said and I quote...."In case of rising water...seek higher ground"...   Living in Mississippi that is good advice since the high point is 806 feet...Tim
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2011, 06:16:25 pm »
Welcome davch00, to the Forestry Forum.   :)

We are still a week and a half away from our crest.  Folks are either getting up or getting out.
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Offline chain

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2011, 06:21:30 pm »
I live in Southeast Missouri and was for the Corps. blowing the levee. My 2 cents is if you willingly build a house and farm behind the levee or in that floodway you should be willing to accept that its going to flood. The floodway was being used for what it was built for. Why should people upstream have to pay because you living in a floodplain.
 
  I see it differently also, why would Cairo keep building goverment housing knowing they are in a flood zone? Lets take the two or three hundred thousand victims of the Katrina hurrincane disaster in N.O. The government moved 150,000 to Houston, Tx. Most have stayed in Houston and out of the flood prone N.O. area. For some reason, most folks want to save 2500 people in harms way that could easily have been relocated to other areas.

Another question that is debated: in that most who favored the blasting of the flood relief levees are blaming the farmers and residents of Birds Point for just simply residing there. If this was a Federal Floodway, who the heck allowed them to settle and make farmsteads for more than fifty years ? Hypocrisy is no stranger to the Corps of Engineers, as I've pointed out previously, there are still several private levees inside the main levees causing problems in this flood.

By the way, the bridge and I-1-55 is open for traffic. MODOT reported the collison was a glancing blow to one of the pillars.

Offline timerover51

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #36 on: May 03, 2011, 08:28:18 pm »
Cairo, Illinois has been in its present location well over 160 years, and figured very prominently in the US Civil War as both an army and naval base.  As an historian, i would rather not see that much history arbitrarily washed away when another option is available.  As has been mentioned elsewhere on the forum and in this thread, part of the problem of the flooding has been the tampering that Man has done to the entire Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio River drainage basin.  Water that used to have time to sink into the ground is now runoff from cities and highways, areas that used to flood and absorb some of the floodwater are now protected by levees which pushes the flood water levels further downstream that much higher.

In my area of Illinois, Lake County, after the massive flooding in 1986, the municipalities and county finally bit the bullet, barred further development in the Des Plaines River flood plain, and then began to recreate the natural floodplain that once existed.  Right now, the Des Plaines Flood Plain project is working as designed, holding a lot of water that used to run off and then flood villages and towns further south in Lake and Cook County.

With respect to the area that is now flooded in Missouri, what the Federal Government needs to do is bite the bullet, ban anyone from moving back into the area, and purchase the property of those who were allowed to built in that area, when that should never have been allowed.  Then the Federal Government and the states on the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri Rivers have to sit down and permanently BAN any more development in the flood plain areas, and begin to restore the flood plain that used to exist.  If that is not done, then it will be only a matter of time until the next disastrous flood occurs.

Offline chain

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2011, 10:42:39 pm »
I certainly agree with you on the historical importance of Cairo. I'm some what of a civil war history buff myself. We had a friend that passed away a few years ago, his funeral was at the "Mighty Rivers Worship Center" in Cairo, I'm thinking my friend was buried at Mound City National. We did some living history things together, and participated in the C-span re-enactment of one of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, in Anna-Jonesboro, Il.

Lots of history in that area, one of my favorites is Columbus-Belmont State park at Columbus Ky, a more beautiful bluff view of the great Mississippi river I've yet to see. The confederates fired cannons across the river in the Battle of Belmont, Mo. to disperse and thwart Gen. Grant's attack on the Rebel camp. Also at Columbus where Rebels strung the chain on pontoon boats across the river to 'catch' Union Gunboats coming down the river from Cairo.

Offline sawman

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #38 on: May 03, 2011, 11:47:50 pm »
  According to one of the Corps leaders that was on yesterday at some point, said that Cairo was not the only concern, but the increasing pressure on the entire floodway system throughout the region. There are several reservoirs that have been holding back there release amounts. They are now about to their limits, if not already there. This I can understand.
  We live about 25-30 miles NW of the birds point site, and our house shook and rattled when they
set off the first round.
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Offline chain

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Re: Pulling out the stopper on the Mississippi?
« Reply #39 on: May 04, 2011, 05:09:52 am »
Have been checking the National Weather Service river gage every four hours. So far, the 'blow-up' has not lowered the river one inch; in this area below Birds Point, the forecasted crest remains the same.

Reportedly, at Caruthersville, Mo. the crest will come 1/2 foot below the top of their seawall this Sunday. Schools are turning out today, evacuation will begin Friday. National guard working to support the seawall and patroling the Levee. A sea of seep water stands nearly continuously in the fields up and down the outer levee footings. The community is struggling with the realization of evacuation for days or possibly weeks, as well as many other towns up and down the river are facing the same dilemma.