Devastating and historic spring floods continue to impact river communities along both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. How can we respond and what can be done to prepare for increasingly frequent high water events?
MCE and partners organizations like the Mississippi River Network are advocating for the use of more “natural infrastructure” in flood control policy and planning. Natural infrastructure includes wetlands and floodplains which act as “safety valves” that not only store floodwater, but also create wildlife habitat, and can help reduce the costs from flood damage. We believe wetlands and floodplains can save lives and mitigate risk from future floods.
We also know that “conventional infrastructure” like levees are exacerbating flood impacts for vulnerable river communities. Earlier this spring, American Rivers announced its list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers, and the Upper Mississippi River is on it. The Upper Mississippi River is threatened by levees that are being unlawfully raised without required approvals. Several levee districts on the Upper Mississippi River have acted outside of the law in increasing the heights of their levees to the detriment of other communities and the environment.
River towns and cities that cannot afford to raise their levees face the risks of increased flooding that results when rogue actors build their levees higher and higher, disregarding the law and the real consequences for their neighbors. The catastrophic flooding threats posed by these actions are real and getting worse in the face of climate change.
Flood control on the Upper Mississippi River is being dictated by a select few who act without regard to the needs of people or nature. To date, state and federal agencies are doing nothing to stop them.
You can help protect river communities and wildlife habitat by telling these agencies you want them to enforce the law and take corrective action.
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services
- State directors of Natural Resources for Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri