Spring floods are still impacting the region

Saturday, September 24, 2011

With apologies, I once again direct your attention to a relatively new feature in this newspaper - Just Saying. The weekly webcast is available on our website - Standard-Democrat.com. and each week features a local guest on a topic of importance to our community and our region.

Beginning on Monday, this week's feature is East Prairie Mayor Kevin Mainord, who has been front and center in the growing debate with the Corps of Engineers over the reconstruction of the levee in Mississippi County.

For most of us, the massive flooding earlier this year is nothing more than a bad memory. But for the farmers who toil the thousands of acres in the Mississippi County and New Madrid County region, the flood may actually never fully go away.

The Corps is in the process of rebuilding the levee destroyed when the decision was made to sacrifice our regional farmland to help mitigate flooding in other parts along the Mississippi. Although there will always be an ongoing debate over the need to make that drastic decision, the critical question now centers on the height the Corps is suggesting to rebuild the levee.

Farmers and officials - including Congressman Emerson - argue that the levee must be rebuilt at a height above that currently being proposed. Their argument is that the lower-level levee will assure continued periodic flooding of the farm region and greatly impact the agricultural value of that prime ground.

The Corps argues that their funding is inadequate to rebuild at the height suggested by those impacted.

And that is where the argument currently stands.

Mainord is an excellent advocate for the farming region in our area. He's bright and fully-engaged on the topic. And his determination - along with thousands of those impacted - may still convince the Corps of their design flaw.

What strikes me above all else is the ongoing disaster that still surrounds this productive farmland. Though those of us not directly impacted may have pushed the flood memory to the background, that luxury is not possible for those who work in that area and depend on the levee to protect their property.

Their lives were changed this past spring and they remain in a state of limbo.

Mainord also gives high marks to the documentary "Man Made: Disaster at Birds Point Levee," which premiered in East Prairie recently. The documentary - produced by the Osborn-Barr agency of St. Louis, gives a stark picture of the decisions made and the devastating impact that remains in that region today. The documentary - which can also be linked through our newspaper website - has created a substantial buzz over the reality that is being faced every day in Mississippi and New Madrid counties.

Take just 10 minutes to visit our website and listen to Mainord explain the harm and the devastation that remains in our region. It's a sobering analysis and a critically important issue to our region.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: