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The Army Corps of Engineers and US Flood Management Betsy Albright Fulbright Scholar Duke University.

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Presentation on theme: "The Army Corps of Engineers and US Flood Management Betsy Albright Fulbright Scholar Duke University."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Army Corps of Engineers and US Flood Management Betsy Albright Fulbright Scholar Duke University

2 Overview of Lecture History of River Regulation and Dam Management in the United States History of River Regulation and Dam Management in the United States Emphasis on the Army Corps of Engineers Emphasis on the Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Floods of 1993 Mississippi Floods of 1993 Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Katrina

3 Army Corps of Engineers 1794 Congress organized a Corps of Artillerists and Engineers 1794 Congress organized a Corps of Artillerists and Engineers 1802 that it reestablished a separate Corps of Engineers that it reestablished a separate Corps of Engineers. 19th century Corps 19th century Corps construction of coastal fortifications and mapped much of the American West with the Corps of Topographical Engineers (1838—1863). construction of coastal fortifications and mapped much of the American West with the Corps of Topographical Engineers (1838—1863). also constructed lighthouses, helped develop jetties and piers for harbors, mapped the navigation channels. also constructed lighthouses, helped develop jetties and piers for harbors, mapped the navigation channels.

4 History of Army Corps of Engineers 1824 the Supreme Court ruled in Gibbons v. Ogden that federal authority covered interstate commerce including riverine navigation the Supreme Court ruled in Gibbons v. Ogden that federal authority covered interstate commerce including riverine navigation. Congress passed two laws that was the beginning of the Corps' continuous involvement in civil works. Congress passed two laws that was the beginning of the Corps' continuous involvement in civil works. The General Survey Act The General Survey Act Roads, canals Roads, canals Navigation improvement on Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Authorized the president to have surveys made of routes for roads and canals. Navigation improvement on Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Authorized the president to have surveys made of routes for roads and canals.

5 Hetch Hetchy Dam San Francisco Dam project for water supply for San Francisco early 20th century Dam project for water supply for San Francisco early 20th century San Francisco Fire of 1906 San Francisco Fire of 1906 Dam in Yosemite National Park Dam in Yosemite National Park Debate between conservationists versus preservationists Debate between conservationists versus preservationists John Muir, Sierra Club vs. Gifford Pinchot John Muir, Sierra Club vs. Gifford Pinchot "The greatest good for the greatest number for the longest time." Pinchot "The greatest good for the greatest number for the longest time." Pinchot Senate voted in 1913 to develop dam Senate voted in 1913 to develop dam

6 Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in 1919 Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in 1919 Intracoastal waterway Intracoastal waterway 1200 miles course humanmade canals, bays, natural river channels, and estuaries 1200 miles course humanmade canals, bays, natural river channels, and estuaries Intracoastal Waterway

7 Army Corps of Engineers President Franklin Roosevelt President Franklin Roosevelt favored the development of federal hydropower projects to low-cost energy. favored the development of federal hydropower projects to low-cost energy. New Deal ( ) New Deal ( ) Three major hydroelectric power projects: Passamaquoddy Tidal Power Project in Maine, Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, and Fort Peck Dam on the Missouri River. Three major hydroelectric power projects: Passamaquoddy Tidal Power Project in Maine, Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, and Fort Peck Dam on the Missouri River. Post WWII Post WWII Multi-purpose (flood control, hydropower, recreation) projects proliferated Multi-purpose (flood control, hydropower, recreation) projects proliferated Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest

8 Army Corps of Engineers Today Beginning in the 1960s Beginning in the 1960s focused more on recreation, environmental preservation, and water quality than on irrigation, navigation, or flood control. focused more on recreation, environmental preservation, and water quality than on irrigation, navigation, or flood control. Rising opposition to water projects. Rising opposition to water projects. Water Resources Development Act of 1986 Water Resources Development Act of 1986 Emphasis on nonfederal spending and interests Emphasis on nonfederal spending and interests Greater emphasis on environmental concerns Greater emphasis on environmental concerns

9 Mississippi River Basin

10 Mississippi River Basin Floods Floods of 1849 and 1850 Floods of 1849 and Congress passed legislation for topographical and hydrographical survey of Mississippi Delta in response to disasterous flooding in the 1800s 1850 Congress passed legislation for topographical and hydrographical survey of Mississippi Delta in response to disasterous flooding in the 1800s 20 foot navigation channel in mouth of river 20 foot navigation channel in mouth of river Report Upon The Physics and Hydraulics of the Mississippi River Report Upon The Physics and Hydraulics of the Mississippi River river flow, channel cross sections, and general topographical and geological features. developed their own formula to measure the flow of water in rivers—however it was faulty, ignored degree of roughness of slopes of river channels. river flow, channel cross sections, and general topographical and geological features. developed their own formula to measure the flow of water in rivers—however it was faulty, ignored degree of roughness of slopes of river channels. Developed „Levees Only” policy, affected river regulation in the US through mid 20th century Developed „Levees Only” policy, affected river regulation in the US through mid 20th century Mississippi River Commission formed Mississippi River Commission formed

11 Mississippi River Floods Floods of 1882, Mississippi Delta Floods of 1882, Mississippi Delta Floods of 1912 and 1913 Floods of 1912 and 1913 Lower Mississippi Valley Lower Mississippi Valley 1916 Flood 1916 Flood First Flood Control Act Passed First Flood Control Act Passed Dependent on Levee control Dependent on Levee control 1927 Flood 1927 Flood 500 people were killed, 16 million acres were flooded, and over 500,000 people were forced from their homes 500 people were killed, 16 million acres were flooded, and over 500,000 people were forced from their homes

12 Mississippi River and Tributaries Project 1928 Flood Control Act This act started what now is called the Mississippi River and Tributaries Project 1928 Flood Control Act This act started what now is called the Mississippi River and Tributaries Project „levees for containing flood flows; floodways for the passage of excess flows past critical reaches of the Mississippi; channel improvement and stabilization for stabilizing the channel in order to provide an efficient navigation alignment, increase the flood-carrying capacity of the river, and for protection of the levees system; and tributary basin improvements” „levees for containing flood flows; floodways for the passage of excess flows past critical reaches of the Mississippi; channel improvement and stabilization for stabilizing the channel in order to provide an efficient navigation alignment, increase the flood-carrying capacity of the river, and for protection of the levees system; and tributary basin improvements”http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/pao/bro/misstrib.htm 1936 Flood Control Act 1936 Flood Control Act Federal Government should be involved in flood control—commenced reservoir construction Federal Government should be involved in flood control—commenced reservoir construction

13 Mississippi River Basin Mississippi River 6,270 km long Mississippi River 6,270 km long Land use is predominantly agriculture Land use is predominantly agriculture Includes 32% of total US farm acreage Includes 32% of total US farm acreage Major population areas along Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Major population areas along Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Major urban areas protected by levees and flood impoundments Major urban areas protected by levees and flood impoundments 8,000 miles of levees in Upper Mississippi basin, built by federal and local governments 8,000 miles of levees in Upper Mississippi basin, built by federal and local governments 27 locks and dams on the upper Mississippi, most of which were built in the 1930s 27 locks and dams on the upper Mississippi, most of which were built in the 1930s Below St. Louis the Mississippi is relatively free- flowing, constrained by numerous levees Below St. Louis the Mississippi is relatively free- flowing, constrained by numerous levees

14 Mississippi River

15 Mississippi River National importance National importance Transportation, environment, recreation, cultural heritage, agriculture Transportation, environment, recreation, cultural heritage, agriculture Migratory birds, fish and mussel species Migratory birds, fish and mussel species In 1986, Congress designated the Upper Mississippi River System as both a nationally significant ecosystem and a nationally significant navigation system. In 1986, Congress designated the Upper Mississippi River System as both a nationally significant ecosystem and a nationally significant navigation system. 66% of flood plain in Upper Mississippi agriculture 66% of flood plain in Upper Mississippi agriculture

16 Mississippi Floods of 1993 May through September of 1993 May through September of 1993 North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Illinois North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Illinois Hundreds of levees failed along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Hundreds of levees failed along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers 9,300 km of levees were damaged following 9,300 km of levees were damaged following the 1993 flood the 1993 flood $15 billion damages $15 billion damages Flooding submerged eight million acres of farmland Flooding submerged eight million acres of farmland 75 towns totally and completely flooded 75 towns totally and completely flooded Des Moines, Iowa, located in the center of the flood region, largest U.S. city to lose its water supply Des Moines, Iowa, located in the center of the flood region, largest U.S. city to lose its water supply

17 Critical Factors Affecting Floods Continuous nature of the rainfall Continuous nature of the rainfall Rain on 20 days or more in July, compared to an average of 8-9 days with rain Rain on 20 days or more in July, compared to an average of 8-9 days with rain Rainfalls with amounts achieving 75- to 300-year frequencies. Rainfalls with amounts achieving 75- to 300-year frequencies. Exceeding flood recurrence intervals of 100 years Exceeding flood recurrence intervals of 100 years Approximately 80% of the original wetlands along the river were drained since the 1940’s Approximately 80% of the original wetlands along the river were drained since the 1940’s

18 Issues with Flood Management in Mississippi (Galloway, 1995) Unclear division of responsibilities in flood management Federal, state, tribe, local governments Unclear division of responsibilities in flood management Federal, state, tribe, local governments No unified program of floodplain management No unified program of floodplain management Development in the floodplain Development in the floodplain Levees Levees Locally constructed levees weaker than federal, little oversight of levee construction Locally constructed levees weaker than federal, little oversight of levee construction National Flood Insurance Program National Flood Insurance Program Premiums reflect flood risk Premiums reflect flood risk Lack of public participation Lack of public participation Post Flood Emergency Assistance versus Flood Insurance Post Flood Emergency Assistance versus Flood Insurance Principles and Guidelines (US Water Resources Council) Principles and Guidelines (US Water Resources Council) Water resources planning document Water resources planning document Structural versus non-structural approaches Structural versus non-structural approaches U.S. Soil Conservation Service spent $25 million to buy flood-prone farmlands for conversion to natural conditions (e.g. wetlands) U.S. Soil Conservation Service spent $25 million to buy flood-prone farmlands for conversion to natural conditions (e.g. wetlands)

19 Post Mississippi River Floods Review of U.S. flood-control policy, both before and after the 1993 flood Review of U.S. flood-control policy, both before and after the 1993 flood limit or reduce infrastructure on floodplains limit or reduce infrastructure on floodplains New emphases on flood-damage prevention (FEMA) buyouts of floodplain properties. New emphases on flood-damage prevention (FEMA) buyouts of floodplain properties. Around St. Louis new development on flood plain Around St. Louis new development on flood plain U.S. Army Corps of Engineers U.S. Army Corps of Engineers $197 million on nine local levees in its St. Louis District since 1993 $197 million on nine local levees in its St. Louis District since 1993

20 Hurricane Katrina

21 New Orleans Flood of html

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23 New Orleans and SE Louisiana City lies below sea level City lies below sea level Surrounded by water Surrounded by water Lake Pontchartrain (North) Lake Pontchartrain (North) Mississippi River (South and West) Mississippi River (South and West) Mississippi Delta wetlands disappearing Mississippi Delta wetlands disappearing Hurricane 1947 Hurricane 1947 Levees built along Lake Pontchartrain Levees built along Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane Betsy 1965 Hurricane Betsy 1965 Levees raised to protect for a Category 3 hurricane Levees raised to protect for a Category 3 hurricane

24 New Orleans and SE Louisiana Army Corps of Engineers requested funds from Congress to upgrade levees in 1990s Army Corps of Engineers requested funds from Congress to upgrade levees in 1990s Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project Funding cut 80% Funding cut 80% FEMA study in 2001 suggested hurricane in New Orleans one of top three likely disasters in US FEMA study in 2001 suggested hurricane in New Orleans one of top three likely disasters in US

25 Hurricane Katrina Hurrican Katrina hit as a Category 4 Hurrican Katrina hit as a Category 4 Levee Breaches in New Orleans Levee Breaches in New Orleans 17th Street Canal Breach, London Street, Industrial Canal 17th Street Canal Breach, London Street, Industrial Canal 80% of city covered by flood water 80% of city covered by flood water Army Corps of Engineers began pumping water back into lake on September 6th Army Corps of Engineers began pumping water back into lake on September 6th September 24th breaches reoccured due to Hurricane Rita September 24th breaches reoccured due to Hurricane Rita Estimated that 2% of volume of lake pumped back into lake Estimated that 2% of volume of lake pumped back into lake Heavy metals, petrochemicals, sewage, corpses Heavy metals, petrochemicals, sewage, corpses

26 Hurricane Katrina Approximately 1,000 deaths Approximately 1,000 deaths Damages in the billions Damages in the billions Homeless 100,000 Homeless 100,000 Environmental Impacts Environmental Impacts

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30 Coastal Wetlands SE Louisiana The coastal wetlands of Louisiana (approximately 3 million acres) encompass approximately 40 % of the coastal wetlands of the United States, The coastal wetlands of Louisiana (approximately 3 million acres) encompass approximately 40 % of the coastal wetlands of the United States, It has been estimated that the state of Lousiana is losing 75 square kilometers annually (http://marine.usgs.gov/fact-sheets/LAwetlands/lawetlands.html). It has been estimated that the state of Lousiana is losing 75 square kilometers annually (http://marine.usgs.gov/fact-sheets/LAwetlands/lawetlands.html).http://marine.usgs.gov/fact-sheets/LAwetlands/lawetlands.html This loss of wetlands represents approximately 80% of the total loss of wetlands across the United States. This loss of wetlands represents approximately 80% of the total loss of wetlands across the United States. Dredging wetlands for canals or draining and filling for agriculture, grazing, or development. Dredging wetlands for canals or draining and filling for agriculture, grazing, or development. The Mississippi Delta (300 km wide) formed from sediment deposits of Mississippi River over past 7,000 years. The Mississippi Delta (300 km wide) formed from sediment deposits of Mississippi River over past 7,000 years. Levees and natural processes have changed sediment deposit patterns Levees and natural processes have changed sediment deposit patterns Salt water intursion from Gulf of Mexico to freshwater wetlands Salt water intursion from Gulf of Mexico to freshwater wetlands Energy exploration Energy exploration

31 SE Louisiana Wetlands

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33 Post Katrina Analysis White House and Congress plan to review response to Hurricane Katrina White House and Congress plan to review response to Hurricane Katrina Will review include factors associated with increased flood risk? Will review include factors associated with increased flood risk? What will happen to New Orleans? What will happen to New Orleans?


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