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+ - The Intentional Flooding of America's Heartland

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Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Joe Herring writes that sixty years ago, the US. Army Corps of Engineers began the process of taming the Missouri by constructing massive dams at the top to moderate flow to the smaller dams below, generating electricity while providing desperately needed control of the river's devastating floods, but after about thirty years of operation, as the environmentalist movement gained strength throughout the seventies and eighties, the Corps received a great deal of pressure to include specific environmental concerns into their Master Water Control Manual, the "bible" for the operation of the dam system, as preservation of habitat for at-risk bird and fish populations soon became a hot issue among the burgeoning environmental lobby. The Corps began to utilize the dam system to mimic the previous flow cycles of the original river, holding back large amounts of water upstream during the winter and early spring in order to release them rapidly as a spring pulse. "Whether warned or not, the fact remains that had the Corps been true to its original mission of flood control, the dams would not have been full in preparation for a spring pulse," writes Herring. "The dams could further have easily handled the additional runoff without the need to inundate a sizeable chunk of nine states." The horrifying consequence is water rushing from the dams on the Missouri twice as fast as the highest previous releases on record while the levees that protect the cities and towns downstream were constructed to handle the flow rates promised at the time of the dam's construction. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has called for a 9/11-type federal commission to study flood-control policy along the Missouri River. “I am frustrated,” said Brownback after viewing flood preparations near Leavenworth as muddy, rising water swirled only a few feet away. “It’s time we talk about the impact of flooding on the Missouri River system. It’s about human life.”"
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The Intentional Flooding of America's Heartland

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