Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Restoration and recommendations for flood-damaged bottomlands

21.03.2013
Although the 2012 drought in the Midwest may have dimmed the memories for some of the 2011 Ohio and Mississippi River flood, engineers, landowners, conservationists, crop scientists and soil scientists haven't forgotten. They are working hard to repair levees and restore the flood damaged Birds Point-New Madrid floodway in preparation for the next big flood which will eventually happen.

"After the waters recede, people forget about the catastrophic flooding and damage to agricultural lands, road infrastructure, homes, and businesses and the ongoing restoration efforts" said University of Illinois researcher Ken Olson. Olson has studied the damage to property and farmland caused by the opening of the New Madrid Floodway in 2011.


The original 60.5-foot Birds Point fuse plug was blown up using 265 tons of TNT on May 2, 2011. The USACE filled in the crater lake and temporarily patched the levee by putting in a patch that was 55 feet high in fall of 2011. In 2012 they restored it to the original height.

Credit: University of Illinois

The use of the 133,000 acres of Birds Point-New Madrid floodway resulted in partial 2011 crop loss when 25,000 acres (winter wheat drowned) and another 15,000 acres could not be reclaimed in time to plant soybeans in 2011 or were too wet for production. Permanent soil damages occurred as a result of land scouring, gully fields, crater lakes, gully fields, thick sand deposits on land, in waterways, in road ditches and drainage ditches.

Restoration has required substantive financial resources and collaborative efforts among public and private agencies. Congress appropriated funds though USDA Farm Services Agency's Emergency Conservation program to remove sediment in private drainage ways. USDA, Natural Resource Conservation Service made $3 million of Disaster relief funds available for local drainage district dredging the sediment from the 109 miles of drainage ditches within the floodway with 30 excavators. The work was completed in fall of 2012.

Olson calculated the extensive restoration efforts of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the USDA, Natural Resource Conservation, FEMA and other federal, state and local agencies to be over $51 million including levee repairs, crater lake and gully reclamation, crop loss, sediment removal from both road ditches and drainage ditches and home damages. In addition another $46 million of federal money was allocated in 2012 to strengthen the levee and floodwalls near Cairo, Illinois and Hickman, Kentucky and for dredging of the Ohio and Mississippi river shipping channels as a result of the 2012 drought.

Included in this floodplain region is the village of Pinhook, MO with its 30 residents who endure annual local flooding when the Mississippi River is high and drainage ditches back up though a gap between the frontline and setback floodway levees near New Madrid. Since 1954, there have been plans for a project to fill a 1,500-foot gap in the levee that serves as a drainage outlet. After a local appeal to Congress, work began to fill the gap at a cost of $7 million in 2005 only to be stopped in 2006 by legal action; and by 2007 the gap was restored at a cost of $10 million resulting in no change in the local flooding situation. During the flood of 2011 and before the opening of the floodway, the residents of Pinhook were safely evacuated.

However, their homes and community infrastructure were destroyed. After exploring several relocation and rebuilding options, a federal buyout was accepted by Pinhook home owners of 21 properties at a total cost of $1.17 million, according to the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission.

"If the opening of the floodway was to occur more frequently, the public and private costs to reclamation and restoration of agricultural lands and rural communities, such as Pinhook, will also increase," said Olson.

Olson and his colleague Lois Wright Morton from Iowa State University recommended that a revision to the comprehensive plan for this area should better integrate the levee engineering infrastructure with the ecological infrastructure to mitigate future flooding and strengthen the effectiveness of well-placed levee systems. One option might be the State of Missouri purchasing limited acreage of land adjacent to Big Oak Tree State at the southern end of the floodway. These low lying agricultural lands, which were severely damaged in the 1927, 1937 and 2011 floods, are likely to be severely damaged in future catastrophic floods and floodway use. Any levee realignment or the purchase of land for expanded wetlands and park lands should be assessed with input from farmers, land owners, local leaders and state and federal agencies.

Olson acknowledged that returning the entire floodway to its original status as a floodplain, which is not being proposed, would not be socially desirable or politically feasible or acceptable. But, Olson said, redesign of the floodway or a land use change for a limited area of low lying bottomland in the floodway could reduce taxpayer and private costs associated with more frequent future flooding events and provide more bottomland storage during major flooding events and lessen the need to reopen the floodway. The current levee, floodwall and floodway approach to managing catastrophic flooding near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers has worked well for almost 85 years.

However, this system requires massive tax payer funding and may not be sustainable if the frequency of catastrophic flooding were to increase as a result of climate change and greater frequency of weather extremes.

"Restoration of 2011 Flood Damaged Birds Point - New Madrid Floodway" and "Birds Point - New Madrid Floodway: Redesign, Reconstruction and Restoration" were published in 2013 issues of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. Lois Wright Morton co-authored the papers with Kenneth Olson.

Olson is a researcher in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences in the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

The complete papers can be accessed at http://www.jswconline.org/content/68/1/13A.full.pdf and http://www.jswconline.org/content/68/2/35A.full.pdf

Debra Levey Larson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

nachricht Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments
01.08.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>