Included in this floodplain region is the village of Pinhook, MO with its 30 residents who endure annual local flooding when the Mississippi River is high and drainage ditches back up though a gap between the frontline and setback floodway levees near New Madrid. Since 1954, there have been plans for a project to fill a 1,500-foot gap in the levee that serves as a drainage outlet. After a local appeal to Congress, work began to fill the gap at a cost of $7 million in 2005 only to be stopped in 2006 by legal action; and by 2007 the gap was restored at a cost of $10 million resulting in no change in the local flooding situation. During the flood of 2011 and before the opening of the floodway, the residents of Pinhook were safely evacuated.
However, their homes and community infrastructure were destroyed. After exploring several relocation and rebuilding options, a federal buyout was accepted by Pinhook home owners of 21 properties at a total cost of $1.17 million, according to the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission.
"If the opening of the floodway was to occur more frequently, the public and private costs to reclamation and restoration of agricultural lands and rural communities, such as Pinhook, will also increase," said Olson.
Olson and his colleague Lois Wright Morton from Iowa State University recommended that a revision to the comprehensive plan for this area should better integrate the levee engineering infrastructure with the ecological infrastructure to mitigate future flooding and strengthen the effectiveness of well-placed levee systems. One o
|Contact: Debra Levey Larson|
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences