What is in this article?:
- Mississippi River Commission monitoring river levels as crest moves south.
- Behind the scenes account in run-up to blowing southeast Missouri levee.
- Recovery from flooding already in planning.
Following the crest
As a member of the Mississippi River Commission, can you talk about having followed the crest downriver? Is that an accurate characterization?
“That is accurate.
“My engagement began (April 28) along with the other members and president of the river commission in preparation for the flood. We had discussions with the Lakes and Rivers divisions. We were also actively engaged with the Northwest Division (which has the authority over the Missouri River) and large locks and dams like Gavins Point.
“All those people in those divisions committed to trying to hold as much water as they possibly could out of the Mississippi River. They did exactly that. They held as much as they could for as long as they could.
“We concentrate on the Kentucky and Barkley flood control reservoirs. But those divisions have many flood control reservoirs up and down their systems. They were holding all the water they could to try and help us prevent the crest at Cairo, Ill., being any higher than it had to be.”
More on the Birds Point/New Madrid floodway…
“The (southeast Missouri) floodway is one of many tools used in order to pass down a flood of such magnitude. There are levee setbacks, there are flood control reservoirs, the river channel itself has been trained to handle more water, there are backwater areas that take crest off the river. So, that floodway is just one part of the system.
“And I’ll tell you there was a lot of hand-wringing and discussion before that floodway was actually used. I can honestly say there wasn’t one person I was with who wanted to use that floodway. It was used as a last resort to help get the flood past the bottleneck area of Cairo, Ill., down to New Madrid.”