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Sierra Daily

Apr 26, 2011

High-Water Mark

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to breach a levee at Birds Point on the Mississippi River in order to protect the downstream city of Cairo, Illinois, from flooding. Some 130,000 acres of farmland coulld be inundated, and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has sued to stop the effort. A law enacted in the 1920 requires the Corps to blow up the levee if the gauge at Cairo reaches a certain water level, according to Reuters. Cairo, population 2800, sits at the confluence of the Ohio and Missisppi rivers, both of which are flooding.

Treated like a plumbing system rather than a river, the funneled-and-strangled Mississippi will continue to force authorities to choose between cities and farms when the water starts rising, unless floodplains are restored.

--Reed McManus

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