More than 1,000 farmland acres in the Chesterfield, MO area shown below was under up to 15 feet of water in 1993 but today (2nd photo below) a $275 million mall, longest outdoor strip mall in America, has been constructed there, protected by a 500-year flood levee. The project was built utilizing government tax increment financing; intended for rebuilding blighted urban areas, not constructing malls in floodplains.
In Missouri, more than 12,000 acres of land flooded in 1993 has been developed or is under development, much of it will be protected with higher levees. These developments will shift flooding to other areas.
Most of the construction and maintenance costs of the levees in floodplains are paid for by taxpayers, along with the cost to repair flood damage in both farmland and urban areas when the inevitable floods occur. The cycle of flooding and then repairing flood damage, at the taxpayer’s expense, must be broken because it is simply too expensive.
The recommendations made in 1994 to fix this problem are even more valid today and need to be implemented immediately.
For further reading see:
Dr. Nicolas Pinter. “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back on U.S. Floodplains.”
SCIENCE Vol. 308 (April 5, 2005): 207-08. Print and Online.