Saturday, April 30, 2011

Major General Walsh still undecided on Birds Point

SIKESTON, MO (KRCU) - The Army Corps of Engineers is facing an unprecedented decision – whether or not to blow up one of their own levees to lessen flooding pressure upstream.

The decision comes in the face of near historic levels of flooding on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

A barge full of explosives is waiting near the Birds Point levee, located just south of the town of Cairo, Illinois which sits at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

The Corps has not yet made a decision. Detonation would flood 130,000 acres and displace 200 people.

Colonel Vernie Reichling says that the Corps does not take this decision lightly.

"You know, we don’t want to use the floodway. But if we have to, it has to be at the right time. It’s not about the condition at Cairo gauge. It’s about the condition of the overall system," Reichling said.

Reichling calls the floodways one of the only weapons in the Corps' arsenal, and that Major General Michael Walsh will decide when and if the conditions are right to blow up

“We only utilize it once. So it has to be at the right time if you are going to utilize it,” Reichling said.

The Army Corps of Engineers has three other Mississippi River floodways that it can open up in case of extreme flooding. All three are located in Louisiana.

A decision on Birds Point could come as early as Sunday.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


Post a Comment