PBS Newshour Interviews ASFPM on Mississippi River Flood Protection System

May 12, 2011 | News & Views, What's New

Larry Larson, Executive Director of ASFPM, along with John Barry author of Rising Tide are interviewed to discuss the operational aspects, decision making, and trade-offs resulting from the Mississippi Rivers and Tributaries (MR&T) system.

As the Mississippi River is experiencing serious flooding, there are many questions about how the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) flood control system on the middle and lower Mississippi works. Currently, the Mississippi has crested in Memphis (although it is predicted to stay high for some time, and the Bonnet Carre spillway is being systematically opened to protect New Orleans. A decision has yet to be made to open the Morganza spillway. Its system of levees, floodways, and alternate spillways were designed to be utilized when the river reached a certain stage in key locations. This was the case with the Birds Point spillway which was opened flooding approximately 133,000 acres of the designated land but resulting in more than 2.5 million acres being protected in the system. When floodways and bypasses are used in the MR&T or any other similar flood control system, flood easements must be purchased to give the right to use these lands to hold or convey flood waters during significant flood events.

PBS Newshour anchor Jeffrey Brown interviewed ASFPM Executive Director Larry Larson, Rising Tide author John Barry, on operational aspects of the flood control system, why decisions are made to use floodways and alternate spillways, and the trade-offs having such a system such as flooding pre-identified agricultural areas. To see a recording of the broadcast, please click here for the link.