University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

As Floods Continue in South, Conflict Sharpens

Up here near the head of the watershed for the Mississippi, we’ve been focused for a month on our snowmelt-induced flooding.

But all that water has to go somewhere, i.e. downstream, and when that extra volume is combined with the recurring rains that the midsection of the country has suffered recently, there’s a different kind of disaster in the making.
There’s a news story out today about conflict between the Corps of Engineers and the State of Missouri concerning the best approach to relieving strained levees that may give way at any point.  This is not a new conflict; John Barry’s account of the 1927 delta flood Rising Tide plays up just such a confrontation around New Orleans.
But there maybe needs to be a new point in the policy debate:  What are the right processes to decide on the appropriate course of action when floods come?  We really ought not be surprised any more, should we?  And by now we know that flood preparation ought to be more than just a matter of sandbags and bigger walls.


Related Posts

One Comment

  1. CindyMay 3, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    With all of the resources we have available one would think that by now we would have a better plan to combat the yearly snow runoff and flooding. Not to sound anti foreign but if we could only redistribute a small portion of the funds we are spending on our three wars I bet there would be a better solution. Good lucks to you folks directly impacted by either decision.

Contact Us!
Send us a note at to make suggestions for other places we should look, media to track, and stories to tell!
River Life in Video
Come Along for a Water Walk with Kare11 and River Life, and see Gifts at Work: The Mississippi River by the University of Minnesota Foundation
Open Rivers: Rethinking the Mississippi
A joint project of River Life, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the University of Minnesota Libraries, Open Rivers is an interdisciplinary online journal that recognizes the Mississippi River as a space for timely and critical conversations about people, community, water, and place.