You Can't Fool Mother Nature

2007-10-22

Every once in a while I see an article about the follies of flood control in the lower Mississippi River delta, how the stupid Americans could learn from the smart Dutch, etc. Now I freely grant that "God made the earth but the Dutch made Holland." Yet the problems are of a different scale, as I realized over the weekend by reading an article in PERC Reports entitled Warning: Army Corps of Engineers Project Ahead. It seems that every thousand years or so, the main outlet for the huge Missouri-Mississippi river system changes. And the last change occurred -- you guessed it -- around 1000 years ago. Even as we speak, the Atchafalaya River is slowly widening and deepening. It will eventually become the primary outlet for the Missouri-Mississippi system. Indeed it would have done so thirty years ago if (at the behest of Congress) the Army Corps of Engineers had not constructed a dam across the Old River, which connects the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya. The question is not if, but when. Even the almighty Congress of the United States of America won't be able to prevent such a monumental change forever...


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal