About the Author
In 1927 flooding in the lower Mississippi River forced
nearly 700,000 people (table 1) to move from their homes (U.S.
Army Corp of Engineers, 1999). Waters began to rise in August
of 1926 and passed flood stage at Cairo, Illinois in January of 1927.
The flood destroyed levees from Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico (Barry,
2002). The river was in flood stage for 153 consecutive days and
inundated 69,930 km2 of land (fig 1). The flood of 1927 was a reminder
that humans were capable of managing natural systems but could not
control them. As a result management strategies for the river were
scrutinized and altered.
Map showing area that water covered during
the flood of the Mississippi River in 1927. Modified from the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers Jim Addison 1999
Since then, new flood control structures and systems have been implemented
to minimize such events in the future. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers
abandoned their flood control strategy of “levees only”
to pursue one that would include meander cutoffs, flood outlets, upstream
reservoirs, and other measures (Barry, 2002). However, human alteration
of natural processes like river flooding has had indirect effects
on other geomorphic processes.
Last updated May 11, 2005