Olson acknowledged that returning the entire floodway to its original status as a floodplain, which is not being proposed, would not be socially desirable or politically feasible or acceptable. But, Olson said, redesign of the floodway or a land use change for a limited area of low lying bottomland in the floodway could reduce taxpayer and private costs associated with more frequent future flooding events and provide more bottomland storage during major flooding events and lessen the need to reopen the floodway. The current levee, floodwall and floodway approach to managing catastrophic flooding near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers has worked well for almost 85 years.
However, this system requires massive tax payer funding and may not be sustainable if the frequency of catastrophic flooding were to increase as a result of climate change and greater frequency of weather extremes.
"Restoration of 2011 Flood Damaged Birds Point - New Madrid Floodway" and "Birds Point - New Madrid Floodway: Redesign, Reconstruction and Restoration" were published in 2013 issues of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. Lois Wright Morton co-authored the papers with Kenneth Olson.
Olson is a researcher in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences in the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
|Contact: Debra Levey Larson|
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences