Does flooding in the bootheel bring back memories of '93?
Thu, 05 May 2011 02:54:42 GMT —
The army corps of engineers performed a second explosion at the Birds Point Levee Tuesday.
And the government is planning to blow up a third section of the Mississippi Levee Wednesday night to allow flood water back into the river. The breaks in the levee have been made in an effort to allow more floodwater back into the Mississippi river. Many Mid-Missourians dealt with severe flooding in 1993. KRCG's Meghan Lane spoke with local farmers about what toll the flood of '93 took on them and also about the current intentional flooding in the bootheel. "I just never expected to see water in our house," one southeast Missouri farmer cried. Thousands of acres of farmland sit under water in the boot-heel Farmers have lost everything. "All we can do is let the water go down and work with what's left" the southeast Missouri farmer said. "Many of the farmers in Hartsburg said their hearts go out to those in the bootheel dealing with the flooding. They said they understood exactly what they are going through. In 1993 Terry Hilgedick's fields were filled with 12 feet of water, and it took more than a month and a half for it to dry up. "It was an enormous mess, it doesn't get any worse, it truly looked like an atomic bomb went off and I'm sure it will look the same down there," Hilgedick said. A shed with a spray painted '93 marks how high the water was on Hilgedick's land and is a constant reminder of the price you have to pay to farm to farm the land. But Hartsburg farmers told KRCG they'll never leave. Critics of river bottom farmers said they shouldn't be there in the first place and they should just let nature run its coarse. But the farmers in Hartsburg said otherwise. "All of our livelihood comes from river bottoms, farmer Orion Beckmeyer said. Things are not like they use to be. If you want river bottoms to go back like they were then the Walmart parking lots should go back to prairie grass." "I've been a river bottom farmer all of my life and the benefits of the ground to me outweigh the risks of the floods because there's no other ground in Missouri that comes close to our river bottoms, farmer Steven Diederich said. While many farmers in Hartsburg sympathize with the flooding victims Diederich said they should have updated the levee in the bootheel long before it came to such disaster. "When the river's down and it's not a problem you can't interest anybody in the levees, Diederich said. When the river's up close to the top of the levee then everybody's concerned about them. you need to work the things out ahead of time. When it's happening, it's too late." In the Missouri bootlheel town of Caruthersville, people already are dealing with record flooding, and the Mississippi hasn't reached its height there yet. It's expected to rise another three feet before cresting on Sunday. Since the first two blasts, Mississippi river levels have dropped two feet in some areas.