Rescuing farmland after a flood @physorg_com
We followed this flood event as keenly as anyone else with a stake in it, watching the two largest river systems, the MS & MO, unload on the Upper MS River in 2011. I found it amazing how those levees were designed to be blown or overtopped should just such a scenario arise. What forethought by the Corps of Engineers. Yet, now we are seeing the follow-up studies, and finding many things that should be in place before the river gives us such a grim choice when the next major flood event comes. ~Bruce Biles
When levees fail, either naturally or as an intentional breach, as was the case on the Mississippi River in 2011, an orchestrated effort is made to remove or repair flood-damaged homes and other structures. A University of Illinois soil scientist believes that an equivalent effort should be coordinated to assess soil damages, including how flooding has affected soil productivity and land used for agriculture.
“The United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Mississippi River Commission, and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service should develop an agreement to immediately update the soil survey maps, conduct a land scouring and deposition survey (commonly done now by USDA, NRCS), and create a soil conservation plan to ensure a rapid federal response after every levee breach and subsequent flooding event,” said Ken Olson. “This should be part of the federal government emergency response to a natural disaster. Disaster and emergency relief funds are now being used for restoration and repair work, including opening drainage and road ditches by removing sediment, levee repairs, crater lake filling, restoration of land-scoured areas adjacent to the levee breaches, and sand deposit removal from fields next to the crater lakes.”
Olson led a team of scientists in a study of a 195-acre O’Bryan Ridge gully field area in Missouri and found that the area suffered a permanent loss of 30 percent of its agricultural productive capacity. Read more at Physics.org.