Mississippi River Mayors Advise Communities Affected By Sandy

St. Cloud, MN flooding in 2001

St. Cloud, MN flooding in 2001 | Dave Swarz

Over the weekend, Mayors from the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative penned some advice to local officials along the east coast who are struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. It was great to see these Mississippi River mayors reaching out to their peers on the coast and voicing some of the shared concerns of living in flood-prone areas. Especially in a drought year when flooding could not be further from their minds. 

As the Mississippi River mayors point out, local officials on rivers and coasts struggle to find the right balance of economic growth, safety, and sustainability when rebuilding after a flood. The Mayors point out some important truths:

“Developing in flood plains even with flood protection measures in place can have unforeseen, severe consequences… Man-made infrastructure can inhibit the natural ebb and flow of water bodies necessary to keep aquatic ecosystems healthy and oftentimes replace more cost-effective natural flood buffers.”

It is encouraging to hear these messages being communicated by local officials on the Mississippi River. The Mississippi is our nation’s largest, most high profile river system and floods will continue to plague the basin no matter how much we invest in flood control structures. Hearing Mississippi River leaders recognize the need for natural flood protection, sustainable urban planning, regional collaboration, and pre-disaster mitigation is reassuring.

Local mayors along the East Coast, and officials within the Administration should take some advice from the Mississippi mayors in order to rebuild safe, resilient communities.

Clarksville, MO flooding in 2008

Clarksville, MO flooding in 2008 | Notley Hawkins