Suddenly, this past week the Mississippi River is in the news because of the flood waters surging towards New Orleans. The US Army Corps of Engineers opened the Morganza Spillway on Saturday, a decision that sent flood waters into prime farm land and threatened 25,000 people and 11,000 structures in its path. The personal and financial disaster is well reported and the news is heartbreaking.
But, what can we in Wisconsin do to help? First, a bit of background.
In fact, the Mississippi River recently received Special Mention as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2011, largely because of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers insufficient levee-only policy. And the river advocacy group 1Mississippi this week sent out an appeal to its members to write the Obama administration to take action to protect the Mississippi and America’s other endangered rivers.
A lesson of this flood disaster is that how we humans use the land, matters. Another lesson is that we can act to correct the mistakes of the past.
One example of people taking positive action through restoration ecology, comes from Steven’s Point where the Moses Creek restoration helped return a 17 acre stretch of a former drainage ditch to a wetland that will soak up routine and extreme-event rainfalls, a valuable ecosystem service that will help prevent flooding as the creek flows through Steven’s Point, on towards the Wisconsin River, and downstream in the Mississippi River basin. See the full story: Wetland restoration in Stevens Point to fight floods | Wausau Daily Herald | wausaudailyherald.com.