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Flooding across the Midwest over the weekend caused residents to flee as levees were breached by the rising floodwaters and emergency workers had to use boats to rescue stranded residents of towns along the Platte, Missouri and Elkhorn Rivers, and at least two people have perished. The rising floodwaters are the aftermath of the massive storm system that pushed through the nation’s midsection on Thursday and Friday, pushing rivers to record flood levels in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota, according to the Associated Press. Rising waters continued late into Sunday forcing more evacuations.
Rising floodwaters in the Missouri River led to the closure of Interstate 29 from the Missouri border with Iowa to Missouri Valley, Iowa 85 miles to the north.
Why This Matters: The flooding won’t just stop in Missouri. All that water has to go somewhere. The Corps of Engineers, that manages the whole Missouri and Mississippi River system will be on alert for high floodwaters to work their way downstream into the lower Mississippi River in a few weeks. As one weather forecaster put it, this is just a “dress rehearsal” for what is to come in April on the Mississippi River. The flood water is like a bulge in a hose – with nowhere to go but down the river, because so much of the banks of these rivers have “hardened” with levees and dams in order to use them as floating highways and to protect farms and towns. But if these “hundred” year floods are the new normal as scientists believe, we need to think about how to deal with these extreme events – they are no longer extraordinary. And we are convinced that this is why people in states like Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri want candidates to talk about climate change as the election season gets into full swing.
Why This Matters: They call it the “The Navigable Waters Protection Rule” but nothing could be further from the truth because now pollution can enter big waterways and the ocean from smaller ones and from wetlands that are no longer protected. More pesticides, more PFAS, more chemicals, more waste — and we won’t know it because these discharges and wetlands destruction will all be “perfectly” legal.
Texas ranchers are having to ask the tough question of whether they will have to cull their herds as much of the state continues to experience ongoing drought. As the grass dries out and ranchers face rising costs, it’s becoming less viable to maintain large herds of cattle and sheep in Texas Hill Country.
The removal of legacy dams, which were first constructed dozens to more than a hundred years ago, is proving to be increasingly popular to restore river flows now that they are no longer serving any purpose for generating power or driving industrial uses.
Why This Matters: There is no doubt that a free-flowing river is a healthy river. As has been much discussed recently, the need to do everything we can to restore and conserve the natural world to stave off the next wave of extinctions and to combat climate change.