Letter to the Editor
NWF and Birds Point levee
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Your paper's Aug. 26 article "Mississippi County commissioners OK letter against National Wildlife Federation" suggests that the National Wildlife Federation is working to stop the rebuilding of the Birds Point levee. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The National Wildlife Federation is working to stop an entirely different project -- the St. John's Bayou-New Madrid project -- because it will put communities at risk. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' own studies conclude that levees and flood walls would overtop in dozens of river communities, as far as 40 miles upstream, if the New Madrid floodway is not used during a severe flood. Closing off the bottom of this floodway with a new levee will make it harder, not easier to operate the floodway to save towns in the area during the next big flood.
The federation is also working to stop the St. John's project because it will cut off the Mississippi River's last natural connection to its floodplain in Missouri; a connection that is absolutely vital for a healthy, sustainable fishery in this section of the Mississippi River. The U.S. Department of the Interior has said that it simply is not possible to mitigate the project's damage to the region's fisheries, wetlands and floodplains.
There are many things that the federal government could be doing to help Mississippi and New Madrid counties recover from the flood of 2011. Wasting $150 million on a project that will put more people at risk is not one of them.
RON COLEMAN, Missouri NWF
affiliate representative, St. Louis, Mo.