Flooding in Mississippi Essay

876 Words4 Pages
Flooding in Mississippi In the summer of 1993 the United States were faced with the most devastating flood that has ever occurred. Seventeen thousand square miles of land were covered by floodwaters in a region covering all or parts of nine states (North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois). All large Midwestern streams flooded including the Mississippi, Missouri, and Kansas, Illinois, Des Moines and Wisconsin rivers. The Mississippi river was above flood stage for 144 days between April and September and approximately 3 billion cubic meters of water overflowed from the river channel onto the floodplain downstream from St. Louis. There were 4 principal reasons why flooding was…show more content…
Some of the environmental damage the flood contributed to include: a lower oxygen concentration (below 2mg/L) was elevated and more widespread than usual along the Louisiana coastline west of the delta. This can be attributed to two main causes. First, the high river discharge introduced abnormal amounts of nutrients during the summer months, fueling plankton growth. Second, solar heating, resulting in a very stable water mass on the continental shelf, rapidly warmed the widespread low-salinity plume of river water. The increased plankton biomass and the highly stratified water mass spoiled hypoxic conditions, which covered approximately, double the area that would be expected in the summer. The effects of hypoxic conditions on the productive Louisiana fishery had a highly negative impact, as did it on the benthic community west of the delta. The flooding submerged eight million acres of farmland. Production of corn and soybeans were down 5- 9% as a result and corn prices rose by 0.15% per bushel. Floods deposited thick layers of sand in some fields. The U.S. Soil Conservation Service spent $25 million to buy flood-prone farmlands for conversion to natural conditions (e.g. wetlands). Conversion of natural lands to farmlands has resulted in greater run-off and exaggerated the effects of flooding. The greatest economic losses occurred in cities on the floodplain. Des Moines, Iowa, located in the center of the flood region, became the
Open Document