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Restoration and recommendations for flood-damaged bottomlands
Date:3/20/2013

URBANA - Although the 2012 drought in the Midwest may have dimmed the memories for some of the 2011 Ohio and Mississippi River flood, engineers, landowners, conservationists, crop scientists and soil scientists haven't forgotten. They are working hard to repair levees and restore the flood damaged Birds Point-New Madrid floodway in preparation for the next big flood which will eventually happen.

"After the waters recede, people forget about the catastrophic flooding and damage to agricultural lands, road infrastructure, homes, and businesses and the ongoing restoration efforts" said University of Illinois researcher Ken Olson. Olson has studied the damage to property and farmland caused by the opening of the New Madrid Floodway in 2011.

The use of the 133,000 acres of Birds Point-New Madrid floodway resulted in partial 2011 crop loss when 25,000 acres (winter wheat drowned) and another 15,000 acres could not be reclaimed in time to plant soybeans in 2011 or were too wet for production. Permanent soil damages occurred as a result of land scouring, gully fields, crater lakes, gully fields, thick sand deposits on land, in waterways, in road ditches and drainage ditches.

Restoration has required substantive financial resources and collaborative efforts among public and private agencies. Congress appropriated funds though USDA Farm Services Agency's Emergency Conservation program to remove sediment in private drainage ways. USDA, Natural Resource Conservation Service made $3 million of Disaster relief funds available for local drainage district dredging the sediment from the 109 miles of drainage ditches within the floodway with 30 excavators. The work was completed in fall of 2012.

Olson calculated the extensive restoration efforts of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the USDA, Natural Resource Conservation, FEMA and other federal, state and local agencies to be over $51 million including levee repairs, crater lake and gully
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Contact: Debra Levey Larson
dlarson@illinois.edu
217-244-2880
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

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