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08 Jul 2019

As flood water finally recedes, Midwest cities and towns begin planning for prevention

ENR - Jeff Yoders
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Officials from Midwest cities and towns are finally getting a chance to reevaluate flood control after waters have begun to recede, some for the first time this year.

After 96 consecutive days above flood stage, the Mississippi River at locks and dam 15 in Rock Island, Ill., dropped below its flood stage of 15 ft in mid-June. All locks within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Rock Island District are open from Dubuque, Iowa, to Saverton, Mo., for the first time this year.

“The Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri and Arkansas rivers all reached flood stages this year,” says Jared Gartman, chief of readiness and contingency operations for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi Valley Division. “It’s the wettest June to May in the last 124 years for the Eastern U.S. and the Mississippi Valley. It’s a top four flood of record for several Mississippi River cities. It’s the new record for consecutive days of above flood stage, breaking many 1927 flood records.”


In Davenport, Iowa, temporary protections are being taken down and downtown businesses are reopening. Mayor Frank Klipsch is putting together a task force of local officials by executive order that will meet after Independence Day. The group will look at potential protection solutions along the nine miles of riverfront in Davenport.

“What is the new normal related to flood level heights that we’ve been dealing with here and along the whole Mississippi River? Can we do more wetlands and resilient infrastructure items that we can build as part of it? And then what are some unique ways to protect and develop the riverfront?” Klipsch asked. “We’re struggling with all of those issues, helping our businesses downtown that got affected and coming together as a community.”


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