Management of the Mississippi River

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  • Management of the Mississippi River
    • Fourth longest river in the world - main tributaries Missouri and Ohio drains a third of the USA and small part of Canada
      • Flooding is an almost annual event with late spring having peak discharge due to snow melting
      • Estimated 18 million rely on this river for water supply (50 cities)
      • When flooded in 2011, 25,000 people were evacuated and damage costs were estimated $3billion
    • Hard engineering methods
      • Raised levees - raised to 15m over a stretch of 3000km
      • Straightening of the river channel - meanders cut through over stretch of 1750km creating fast flowing river channel
      • Dams - flow of the main tributaries eg Ohio river has been controlled by 100 dams
    • Soft Engineering Methods
      • Afforestation in upper course - tree's planted eg in Tennessee Valey to intercept rainfall and stabilise soil
      • Safe flood zones - building been restricted in many floodplain areas
      • Washlands - in 2011, Morganza spillway was opening to flood 12,000km2 of farmland in Louisiana preventing the water from reaching New Orleans

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