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05-03-2011 07:01 AM
The army corps decided to breach a mississippi levy, negating 350,000 acres (by some accounts) in one decision. I haven't planted yet in nia, but feel bad for the farmers affected. I wonder how many acres in the ohio river basin will still be affected by the heavy rains. All of north iowa eventually drains into the misissippi to add to the flood. 26 degrees here on this 3rd of may......
05-03-2011 07:41 AM
As I understand it, the COE in any controlled watershed has to follow certain parameters, with priorities set for management of river flow. I have worked as a volunteer to the EPA and NC DENR for over fifteen years on a wastershed citizens advisory council, and have been taught a lot about flow management by the people who live and work along the Roanoke River's NC portion, and then with all five major river watersheds in the state.
COE was engaged initially to manage flows to avoid loss of life and property damage. On "my" watershed, it has been charged with controlling flow to accommodate rockfish spawn, as well as several other recreational/wildlife goals. This has meant sacrificing a lot of groundnesting bird habitat in some springs, and there are fishermen who hate the "rock," as they are predatory of other aquatic species. Still, rockfish are big tourist business for the region, so they get preferential treatment.
One of our three manmade lakes on the river has "guaranteed water levels." This makes lakeside lots there far more valuable than on the other two impoundments. Most of the impounded water is used for making electrical power (hydropower), so that management parameter plays into flow as well. I can drive across the Roanoke Rapids bridge over the river on a hot summer day, and see that they are making a lot of power for AC units in the valley...FERC relicensed the dam for a new cycle only a few years ago.
Then, too, there is a 60 million gallon per day draw of fresh water to Virginia Beach for its overpopulation to enjoy. This will get to be an ever more pressing need for metro areas in the East,and farmers will find themselves doing without.
I can toss in a couple more management demands, but, you get the picture. Flood control is one of many, and it sometimes looks like it gets lost in the mix. If water has to be parked on some farmland to avoid drowning out whole towns and cities, plan on a late planting that year.
PS - Our flow is so altered, I call the Roanoke "Sim River." Probably applies to any one the COE controls.
05-03-2011 08:53 AM - edited 05-03-2011 08:57 AM
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a video of the levee breach here:
Anybody have land in the affected area? What did the federal government do for those affected?
05-03-2011 09:49 AM
The area affected by the levy breach near Cairo, MO is 130,000 acres. The area was set aside in 1927 just for this reason so there are no homes in the area. Some of the farmers do have stogarge sheds in the area which they evacuated five days ago. I guess they will just leave the doors to the sheds open and hope the water will flow through without taking the sheds.
Talked to someone with a friend that farms 400 acres in that zone and it was all planted to corn a week or so ago. He didn't mention how the insurance would be handled but I doubt those guys will be left high and dry by the govt.
05-03-2011 10:45 AM - edited 05-03-2011 10:48 AM
Here are a couple of other discussions (one here in Marketing Talk and another from Farm Business Talk) on the topic:
05-03-2011 01:38 PM
That is pretty vague terminology, Jeff. Government, huh?!?
I would certainly think they will have to wait until floodwaters have subsided. Would be sure there is a re-planting time window, too. After a point, it's pointless.
05-03-2011 04:00 PM
Sounds like the farmers in that area aren't taking this whole deal laying down, though. Just saw that a group of farmers in the area are suing over 5th Amendment rights. See the full story here. Think they'll win?
05-03-2011 04:44 PM - edited 05-03-2011 04:46 PM
Here's a story with pics and description of the damages to the farms in the flood. And apparently my earlier info was wrong, there are about 300 homes in the zone.