The nonprofit group American Rivers has named the Upper Mississippi River as one of its 10 “most endangered” rivers for 2019 because of increased flooding and illegal raising of levees that it says has intensified flooding downstream.
“Eighty miles of levees between Muscatine and Hamburg, Illinois, have been raised without obtaining the required state or federal approvals,” the Washington, D.C.-based organization said Monday in a news release.
While increased flooding caused by climate change is the reason some levee and drainage districts have pursued higher levees, “their actions are intensifying the impact of flooding for their neighbors,” the release says.
“For example, during the most extreme flood events, communities in and around Hannibal, Missouri, are projected to experience an additional foot or more of floodwaters because their neighbors have raised levees.”
The American Rivers statement criticizes state and federal agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), for failing to stop the illegal activity.
“Only the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has taken some action by removing some of the levee districts from a beneficial program that helps pay for damages to levees following a disaster. Unfortunately, the Army Corps’ actions have had little effect.”
The American Rivers report notes 10 locations where levees are two to three feet above authorized reach.
Allen Marshall, the Corps’ chief of corporate communications for the Rock Island District, confirmed that […]