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Drumbeat of reflections on 2011 floods increases–smart thinking required!

August 23, 2011Patrick NunnallyUncategorizedComments Off on Drumbeat of reflections on 2011 floods increases–smart thinking required!

By all accounts (and there have been many!) 2011 was an epic year for floods in the middle of North America.  The massive floods in the Mississippi valley and on the Missouri (which continues) have overshadowed significant and deadly floods across the country and in diverse spots around the world.

But opinions will vary widely on what are appropriate responses to these floods, as I have already pointed out in a number of previous posts.  Let me add two more, notable for their diversity in nearly all respects, to the conversation:

In Bloomberg News, architecture critic James S. Russell writes that the flood failures (which he documents as including the failure of Gulf Coast and marshland restoration in addition to the more well-known flood damages) call for a new vision for the river and our “management” of it.  Russell spoke with Major General Michael Walsh, commander of the Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division, who is seeking a 200 year vision of the river and its watershed, and who expressed a willingness to listen to ideas from the National Wildlife Federation and others who are looking for a more holistic response to the challenge of living with the river.

Unfortunately, Walsh’s sort of big picture thinking is not shared by political leaders in the basin (surprised?  there’s more to say, but I’ll resist).  This story from St. Louis is only one of many that reports that seven of the eight governors of Missouri River states are pushing for the Corps’ Missouri River districts to make flood control the #1 priority.  You’re welcome to find and read more, but it’s not a pretty sight; thinking small rarely is.

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