Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Corps' St. Louis District Says All Heights Are Correct for Area's Mississippi River Levees

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Corps' St. Louis District Says All Heights Are Correct for Area's Mississippi River Levees

Article excerpt

An onslaught of historic flood events in recent years have stirred growing awareness -- and skepticism -- about local river and floodplain management policies. Levee heights have come under particular scrutiny amid claims that structures such as the Valley Park levee are improperly high and have worsened recent flooding in surrounding communities -- something local officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have adamantly denied.

Some critics, though, felt their concerns were lent increased credibility last spring, when findings from the Rock Island District of the Corps, immediately upstream from St. Louis, showed that 40 percent of the district's levees exceeded their authorized height.

Now, though, the St. Louis District says its own, similar survey shows no height discrepancies. Corps officials this week said that 25 levee systems, primarily along the Mississippi River, are built to proper heights, based on survey efforts conducted over the past year.

Seven of the systems looked at are in Missouri, and 18 are in Illinois. Corps representatives said that because the levee heights don't vary from what was expected, it's unclear if the survey's findings will be put together in a formally released report or publication.

"We're not seeing the same sorts of things that they're seeing in Rock Island," said Don Duncan, a hydraulic engineer for the Corps' St. Louis District, summarizing the findings. "We found no evidence that any (levee) raises have occurred in our district."

One possible explanation, he said, stems from the fact that sand-based levees are more common upstream, which can be bulldozed higher for emergency flood protection and often fail to get lowered again. Levees topped by clay, meanwhile, are more typically found around St. Louis.

"We construct levees differently down here than they do there," Duncan said, explaining that area levees "don't lend themselves to the same type of 'flood fight. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.