We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
As someone who lives adjacent to a river (a small one, but larger than a stream - around 30-40' wide in dry season), I know all about flooding. The prosperous farmer who built the core of my house in 1803 had the brains to build his house and barns above the level of flooding, even just barely above the level of 100-year floods.
Our new (c. 1890) barn was built on the old barn foundations. We have had water right up to the footings from the river 200 yards away.
Our land is flooded regularly, and it does wonders for the meadows but it fills my pool with silt, branches, dead fish, leaves, etc. Knocks down our fencing, too. Most of our land is on a flood plain, and only about 1/4 of it is above the plain.
If you live on a flood plain, whether salt or fresh, flooding must be part of your life plan. I think it makes good sense to have farmland, open space, natural preserves, etc on flood plains, but it drives me crazy that the Feds subsidize construction on flood plains via flood insurance. That is just plain stupid. If you live in a flood plain, you should live in a trailer that can be moved to higher ground with a pickup truck. I did live for a spell in one like that (but I did not really like it).
Levees and other Army Corps of Engineers devices only worsen the flooding that rivers regularly perform for the benefit of the richness of the flood plains. They attempt to turn rivers into drainage ditches instead of the ever-changing, meandering, shape-changing wild things that they are.
Back in the day when I was a civil/sanitary engineering student, we were taught that only high value locales like cities deserved levee protection. And, there is a sound cost/benefit analysis complete with discount rates and flood severity/probability curves that can be used.
Part of the analysis is supposed to be a calculation of how the levee affects the river flow, its speed and elevation and flooding elsewhere. In general, projects that substantially increase flooding elsewhere or cause significant erosion are suspect.
Such analyses will recommend only a few levees here and there. But somewhere along the line, the idea took hold that everything should be protected. Nowadays, many rivers are lined almost continuously by levees, many of which are privately owned and constructed just to "protect" farmland.
I listened in an elevator in astonishment to a diatribe about the evils of flooding farmland to save Cairo. The person was wrong on so many points I couldn't begin to rebut her. Apparently, she wanted bigger levees.
Flood Insurance - let me tell you about that - mandatory at best rate of $2,400 per year for a $200,000 structure if you have a mortgage with any form of federal contamination. The building is concrete construction - post inundation, it will be there and functional with a cleaning estimated at maximum of $20,000. A 100 year flood has passed and the building has seen about 3 inches of water in the lowest floor level.
Flood insurance studies that set the 100 year flood plain can be erroneous as the whole process is based on statistics and the somewhat subjective application of computer models.
Choices - buy the insurance or have the bank buy the insurance for you. Real estate vultures hide the flood insurance requirement until after closing, complete with a disclaimer on all certifications that they're not accountable for errors.
Hmmm, mandatory insurance that is from a fixed pool of vendors. Changing vendors is a bureaucratic nightmare. Less than full information to the buyer regarding minimum coverage required. Wasn't there something in the news over the last few years about another highly insured field with mandatory participation?
We thank the good Lord that someone out there is looking after our well being as no one is capable of taking care of themselves or their own property. All hail the government altruists.
No need for a movable trailer. I've seen a photo of a bayou house built on a barge that was moored between 4 30' pilings. You'd lose some of your service connections but the house just float above it all.
Problem is, builders and homeowners can't think ahead. In 2004, I moved to Mississippi in driving around I was surprise to see a slab house 2 blocks from the ocean, when the house closer to the Gulf were all on 20 pilings. I remember thinking that they were pretty stupid. Of course, Katrina cleared out everything even 2 miles further inland, pilings or not.
I remember an article about a spit somewhere in the NE that had been opened up by a storm. They'd dug up a picture from about 80 years earlier with no spit there. The article commented how the rich city folks had thought the locals rubes by not building down on the beach. Of course, via federal flood insurance we keep paying rich people to rebuild on shifting sand, just like we pay idiots who live in a flood plain.
1) If the equation was Cairo Illinois or 130,000 acres of farmland, then I am thinking the the Corps chose wrong.
Cairo is a burned out microcosm of Detroit and only 2800 people. 130,000 acres of farmland could have generated a $1000/acre in gross income this year. I am guessing that is far more economic activity than Cairo produces.
But, 0bama is black, Cairo is 60% black and the farmers are white. This administration continually punishes enemies and rewards friends.
2) Contrary to popular belief, flooding farmland is not always a good thing. The river can change the channel meaning someone loses part of their farm. Erosion can permanently damage a farm, leaving it non-productive and finally there is the debris left by floods that must be cleaned up.
3) Overall I would say the flood control system works very well. One only hears of it's shortcomings during severe flooding, for the more numerous smaller flooding events, which are controlled by the system, everyone seems satisfied.