Lois Wright Morton

Levees and Flooding of Agricultural Lands series

Lois Wright Morton, Professor of Sociology, Iowa State University

Kenneth R. Olson, Professor of Soil Science, University of Illinois


In 2011, early snowmelt and record rainfall over the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys and severe flooding resulted in breached levee systems, loss of agricultural crops and substantive soil degradation including deep sediment deposits, craters and severe gully erosion. Reclamation of agricultural lands, rebuilding of levees, sediment removal from road and drainage ditches, and repair of homes and agricultural structures have been costly. Extreme flooding events along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and their tributaries well illustrate the continuing challenges of public (USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers)) and private levee districts efforts to anticipate risk and manage emergency and evolving natural disasters associated with downstream flooding and increased pressure on levee protected bottomlands. There is substantive evidence that the frequency and severity of extreme weather events is increasing with high likelihood that 50, 100 and 500-year flood events may occur more often. Of particular concern is the vulnerability of low-lying deltaic environments (river bottomlands) which are levee protected and the direct impacts of levee breaching on soil erosion, land scouring, sediment contamination and distribution and the indirect impacts on socio-economic activities, particularly agriculture of flooded areas. This levees and flooding of agricultural lands series documents the role of levees in protecting agricultural productivity and rural communities and the difficult engineering, land use and social decisions associated with preparing for and managing levee systems when rivers are at flood stage.

If you’re interested in flooding, drought, leveed agricultural lands, river navigation and management of river landscapes or you’re fascinated by a good map, you will love this book! 223 full-color pages, hardcover. Read a sample chapter of Managing Mississippi and Ohio River Landscapes.

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